MCLOUD — Sheila Hargis didn't think she'd ever see the day, and she almost missed it with her parole from the state's maximum-security prison for women coming in a little over a month.
Hargis, 40, said she expects to be paroled in late September, but not before seeing a prison chapel at Mabel Bassett Correctional Center begin to take shape.
She was one of several inmates, faith community volunteers, legislative leaders and prison officials who recently celebrated during a groundbreaking ceremony for the chapel. As one of the inmates who donated money to the chapel building fund, Hargis said she was amazed to see the fundraising efforts come to fruition.
“It's hard to just not start crying because we started raising money some time ago,” Hargis said.
The Rev. Joe Wilson, of Enid, domestic coordinator for World Mission Builders, said the $500,000 in funding and in-kind goods and services needed to build and furnish the chapel has come from private donations from individuals and churches from across Oklahoma and other states. He said the project still lacks $100,000, but construction will begin because the majority of the money has come in. He said he recently placed the order for the chapel's steeple and baptistery.
Wilson said the chapel will be built beginning Sept. 16 in the style of an old-fashioned barn-raising. He said volunteers from Oklahoma and other states will build the chapel, which will be the fifth built at Oklahoma prisons by faith-based World Mission Builders.
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