Life on the Outside: Apologizing to Stevens Point After Prison
By Joshua Stromberg
Once again, readers, it’s Joshua. Last week, I introduced myself and gave you a little background on my story. Now that we’ve been properly introduced, where do we go?
Let me take you with me on a little journey. You see, it’s been three years since I last committed any crimes, and yes, during that time I’ve done a lot to change from the angry and confused boy I was to the centered and balanced man that I am today. Life is about righting wrongs- or at least that is what my life needs to be about.
I’ve taken many classes and courses on self improvement and one point which always hit me hard was the idea of making amends to the people I’ve harmed. Well, the problem I face is this: I’ve hurt too many people. I can’t just apologize to one person and make things better, it goes deeper than that. In fact, for most of the harm I’ve done, an apology wouldn’t come close to setting things right.
With that said, I do indeed need to apologize. Not only do you, the community, need to hear it; but I need to say it for myself.
Let me take you just a bit further down my rabbit hole. Let me tell you the pivotal moment that broke me down and led me into the unknown life of change I’ve begun. You see, I have a three year- old daughter, Izzabella, and she is the most beautiful girl in the world.
I know this because I’ve seen pictures. I have never actually met my daughter.
She was in foster care after she was born due to the fact that both of her parents were unstable. And believe me, I had the opportunity to see her, to make her a part of my life, but I chose not to. At the time I was selfish: my life was more important. The gang- banging, the drugs, the women- all of these things made my life seem worthwhile. But the one thing that should have made me a better person scared me the most.
I went to prison in 2010, and while I was in the state not only terminated my parental rights but allowed my daughter to be adopted. I fought for two years to keep her, even though I didn’t even know her, but in the end, the best decision I could make was to let her go to a family that would love her the way she deserved.
So I’ve never seen my daughter. And I won’t until she turns eighteen, if she decides to look for me.
Why am I telling you this? So you know why it is so important to me that I become a better man. And I need you to know one thing: I am so sorry. I wish I could take back all of the mistakes I’ve made, all of the hurt and anguish I’ve caused, but I can’t. What I can do is man up and speak about the remorse I feel.
I actively worked to make this community unsafe, and for that I am deeply sorry. I sought to harm people, both physically and mentally, and for that I am sorry.
What I need to do is commend the people that stood for the positive aspects of this community, who represented the honest, hard working families that live righteous lives. I need to applaud the Stevens Point Police Department, and Officer Yenter in particular, for doing their job and showing me what it is to care about the people around you.
This community of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, should know that you all made a difference in my life. And for that, I am in your debt.
As always, be easy.
Editor’s Note: Joshua Stromberg is a recently- released convicted felon who approached the City-Times asking to share his story. While his criminal record is public, he has served his time and is not wanted by police and has- so far- upheld the conditions of his probation. Stromberg has been brought on staff conditionally and we wish him the best of luck getting his life back together.