What was the purpose of the front-page article in the March 2 newspaper that shouted the terrible news that the Togus chaplain was convicted of killing his wife in the 1980s?

It certainly got everyone’s attention. The next line implies that James T. Luoma never should have been hired by the VA because of this unforgivable crime.

The first line of the article, however, says, “But for a violent moment in 1986, someone has said (he) has lived a remarkable life.”

I do not condone the taking of another’s life, but nothing can bring that life back. Using the rest of one’s life to “pay forward” for a terrible mistake should be supported, not prevented.

The article gives a detailed description of this decorated, disabled Vietnam veteran’s troubled and remarkable life. In prison in 1994, a TV program with Billy Graham and Charles Colson, convicted Watergate participant, began his life’s turn-around. After more than 17 years in prison, with aid from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Luoma graduated from Cincinnati Christian University in 2008 with a master’s degree.

This could have been a story about a remarkable man who has suffered much and done much good in his life while battling post-traumatic stress disorder. Instead, it keeps raising the question of how a man with his criminal record could have been hired to serve as chaplain in our VA hospital.

With little thanks to our country’s criminal justice system or to our treatment of Vietnam vets with PTSD, but with the help of his new-found faith, Luoma turned his life around and now helps veterans who, like him, have seen and suffered so much.

I would like now to personally recognize Chaplain James T. Luoma for his many worthy accomplishments in the face of terrible burdens and suffering.

Mary R. BarnardAugusta