Home  /  News  /  Newsroom

"Just showing up" is one ODOC volunteer's greatest gifts

"Just showing up" is one ODOC volunteer's greatest gifts

TAFT, Okla. – Often times the greatest gift is just being present.  

“Just showing up. Just showing up. Sometimes it’s just a smile,” volunteer Mary Painter said. 

Mary Painter has been showing up nearly 2 decades. She’s a loyal volunteer at Eddie Warrior Correctional Center, teaching on difficult topics like sexual abuse and abortion. 

Painter said, “I believe every time I teach a class God shows me something else. My expertise is to offer some hope.” 

It’s the little things, like strengthening the prison library. 

“The books were worn out, so I started bringing my own books to add to the library,” Painter said. 

Whatever the need, Mary Painter is usually the first to step up. When hundreds of women became eligible for early release, Mary launched a social media campaign. 

“There was a large need following the November commutation. So, I put out a Facebook saying hey friends, this is what we need, “Painter said. “Within two days I had an SUV filled with donated coats and shoes, monetary donations. We had more than enough to meet all the needs.” 

Her impact is felt deeply. 

“She doesn’t look at our crime.” Said inmate Tisha Abbe. “You can see the compassion in her heart. She wants to see us grow.” 

And once a year, Mary and a cavalry of church family descend on the prison for a full day of unconditional love. 

“She’s a breath of fresh air. It really lifts our spirits up,” inmate Cathy Baker said. 

Mary Painter discovered just how special during a rain soaked weekend. 

“The inmate will never forget one of her friends running back to the dorm and the hamburger fell off her plate. The volunteer saw it and ran to the dorm to take a fresh burger to her, Painter said. “That gesture meant so much. They stood in their dorms and watched us. There was not a dry thread on anyone – or a dry eye.” 

This good Samaritan pledges to serve the women of Eddie Warrior, in any way, as long as she is needed.  

“I think the DOC is better because of the volunteers,” Painter said.  

Contact DOC

Main Location
3400 North Martin Luther King Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73111-4298

PO Box 11400
Oklahoma City, OK  73136-0400

Phone: (405) 425-2500
Fax: (405) 425-2578

Contact ODOC

In compliance with the reporting requirements of 74 O.S. 3106.4[C], this agency is making known that it stores name, birth date, place of birth, mother’s maiden name, biometric records, Social Security number, official state or government issued driver license or identification number, alien registration number, government passport number, and employer or taxpayer identification numbers.   The personally identifiable data is stored both electronically and in confidential paper files.  The data is shared in compliance with court orders and agreements with other government bodies.

Subscribe to DOC Updates!

 Email Updates 
To sign up for updates or to access your subscriber preferences, please enter your contact information below.

Top Resources

Closed Records

Employment Verification (405) 425-2644

Sex and Violent Offender Registration

Victim Services

Community Outreach

Visitation Policy

Volunteer Opportunities

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call Onelife at 800-559-9544 or the National Suicide Prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Click here for more suicide awareness information.