help a kid


He’s been in limbo far too long. Travis Montgomery has been held in an adult jail for more than three years for a crime he insists he didn’t commit, and couldn’t have: the murder of his abusive mother. Even if he had committed the crime, no one could blame him.

She was the parent from hell. In Travis’ words: “Since I became conscious, the only memories I have of my mother are of her abusing me. I’ve been nearly drowned, burned, beaten by not only her hands, but with objects such as plastic bottles, bats, a hot frying pan, and she even smashed my head on rocks and brick walls. She sold my body to older men, threw me out of a moving vehicle, and verbally abused me constantly. My mother was a drug addict.”

Travis suffers short-term memory loss from the abuse.

If Travis’ story of the night of November 10, 2013 is to be believed, his parents were fighting, Travis passed out from an uncharacteristic night of drinking, and his father likely murdered his mother while Travis was asleep. His father is attempting to saddle Travis with the murder, and the police are apparently going along with it. After all, if you had a mother like that, wouldn’t you kill her, too? No investigation necessary.

(If I had a wife like that, I’d be the prime suspect; only I’d have killed her years ago when she first abused Travis. But this is a backwater town in Alabama, after all, where parents abuse their kids and husbands never kill their wives.)

Anyway, Travis has not been convicted of a crime, he has been held in an adult jail for more than three years, his trial was originally scheduled for September 2015, but has been delayed until mid-March 2016. I received a postcard from him last week, and only now is his court-appointed defense attorney trying to get a court-appointed forensic investigator appointed (blood spatter analysis would likely establish Travis’ innocence). Yet here’s the main reason for this post: Jail is getting to Travis. He is battling bouts of depression, and he needs your encouragement now.

I know, I know. Like a lot of people, you’re really busy. You’ve got problems of your own. And it’s the beginning of the holiday season, when everybody is stretched to the max. But here’s the thing: it’s the beginning of the holiday season when kids should be happy, you’ve got the time to get your business done, and getting through your problems may provide just the examples Travis needs right now to prove there’s hope even when things seem most bleak.

One of the tales I have found inspiring is the story of St. Martin of Tours and the Beggar. Martin was serving in the Roman army in the year 333 AD and on garrison duty at Amiens, where an event took place that has been portrayed in art throughout the ages (as in this famous painting by El Greco).

On a bitterly cold winter day, eighteen-year-old tribune Martin rode through the city gates, probably dressed in the regalia of his unit—gleaming, flexible armor, ridged helmet, and a beautiful cloak whose upper section was lined with lambswool. As he approached the gates he saw a beggar, with clothes so ragged that he was practically naked. The beggar must have been shaking and blue from the cold but no one reached out to help him.

Martin, overcome with compassion, took off his mantle. In one quick stroke he slashed the garment in two with his sword, handed half to the freezing man, and wrapped the remainder on his own shoulders. Many in the crowd thought this was so ridiculous a sight that they laughed and jeered but some realized that they were seeing generosity in action. That night Martin dreamed that he saw Christ wearing the half cloak he had given the beggar.

Now here is the moral of the story: Even though you may not realize it at first, you do have what it takes to ease someone’s suffering. You may not have an extra cloak to give, but if you have just one, you can share it with someone in need and alleviate his cold.

Here is Travis’ address:

Travis Michael Montgomery

c/o Marion County Jail

PO Box 1387

Hamilton, AL  35570


Please take a few minutes and drop the kid a line. Let him know he hasn’t been forgotten. It will mean so much to him.



2 Responses to “help a kid”

  1. 1 Ronnie Savill
    December 6, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Dan I’ll drop him a line. A letter from the uk with HM The Queens Head on the Stamp and On Her Majesty’s Business typed in the envelope should cheer Travis up – it’ll be a wee bit different and hopefully special for him.


    Sent from my iPhone


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