FPSS have recently been advised that Randy has finally
completed his last dental session and is, according to
his Mother [Dee Hogle], totally exhilarated with life ..
without pain... his infections have finally subsided!
It continues to be a long and difficult journey for Randy's family but they are all continuing to persevere and show tremendous spirit amidst such uncertainty. Their calm approach and responsible representations to the Canadian Government is obviously yielding good results. Both Dee and her husband Robin met recently with their Government representatives and were given a VIP tour of the Government's Parliament Hill. They were very impressive. More on that visit below in Dee's update.
In country news....Ralph Flannagan, Canadian Consul officer in Vietnam handling Randy's case is being transferred to a new post in July 2006. He will be sadly missed by Randy, his family and support team at FPSS. Ralph has been an absolute pillar of strength to everyone working on this case. He has kept the family up to date following each visit and has personally inspired Randy to endure the hardships. Randy has a great deal of respect and admiration for Ralph and we know that his absence will affect Randy to a degree, but we are hoping that Randy will continue to be inspired to make Ralph proud. Randy's entire family and friends wish to extend their heartfelt appreciation to Ralph and hope that his next posting will bring him an abundance of rewarding experiences and due recognition for his outstanding service and dedication to duty. Ralph Flannagan's replacement is Liberty Moore and will go with Ralph on his last visit to Randy. FPSS welcomes Mr. Liberty Moore to Vietnam and hopes that he will find the post equally rewarding.
Randy has requested a transfer to North Vietnam [Hanoi]. The Canadian Consulate will help with this request which is undoubtedly in his best interests. The Vietnamese law does not provide for extradition to Canada but regardless, Randy has indicated that even if it were available, he would much prefer to submit an application for clemency in the hope that he can begin his life afresh. Randy has consistently shown that he has many redeeming qualities and has learned some valuable lessons under the Vietnamese correctional system. Accordingly, prisoners can apply for clemency four times a year if they have served 1/3 their sentence.
Special thanks to FPSS member in Vietnam, Stephanie [surname withheld for privacy reasons] who visited with Ralph at the Embassy this month and dropped off some much needed care package items for Randy. [toiletries, multi vitamins & minerals and some fresh food]. Stephanie says that Randy's kidneys are still a concern but he is apparently drinking plenty of water whilst awaiting treatment. Ralph is continuing to seek medical attention for Randy's kidneys by writing an official letter every two months to the prison authorities and by pressing the matter every time he visits Randy. Stephanie believes that Consul are doing all they can to ensure Randy's health is maintained.
Randy shares a cell with another Canadian/Vietnamese prisoner and evidently his Vietnamese language skills are improving. Randy has a new pair of running shoes and is able to exercise everyday and work in the fields.
Stephanie says that each time Ralph visits Randy, he takes fresh fruits and toiletries to him and another four inmates. Everything is scanned for security reasons but believes that most of the supplies are allowed through. Stephanie plans to keep up her regular support with letters and care packages. Well done Stephanie... your support is a god send!
Thanks to everyone who has signed Randy's petition. We hope that you will all write letters of support to him via the consular. Please be aware that these will be subject to censorship... so we have to be careful. You might like to send him a postcard if you can't think of anything to say. I'm sure that will make his day.
Finally, we trust and pray that the Vietnam government will show mercy and grant clemency to Randy so that he can be returned to his loved ones.
Randy's mother [Dee] writes....
"Randy is so happy to be able to finally SMILE again and eat without the constant agony of abscesses and infections. He would like to personally extend heartfelt appreciation to Ms. Linda B. [full name withheld for privacy reasons] of Toronto, Canada. Linda is a very dear friend of mine. Linda provided a very generous 'Merry Christmas Donation' to Randy's dental fund! Her selfless act of kindness has made Randy's everyday life so much more bearable! GOD BLESS YOU LINDA! XOXXOOXO We are so grateful that words simply cannot express how much!
My husband Robin and I returned from Ottawa, Canada's capital. Our brilliant local MPP, Honourable Barry Devolin, arranged a meeting with our newly appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Trade, Honourable Minister Peter MacKay. Our scheduled 15 minute meeting went well into 30 minutes. I handled everything well, answering all questions and presenting our requests and answering Mr. MacKay's several questions accurately. The Minister directed his sympathy, compassion and support to myself and our family. He continued taking with us and the direct eye to eye contact was astonishing. I felt that he was genuinely interested in our plight as a family and of our concerns regarding Randy's continued detention and how that was affecting our family and Randy. Barry Devolin brought up some really great points that needed to be mentioned...i.e.: treaties, bilateral agreements, etc. I was reassured that Honourable Minister Peter MacKay will research and proceed with all avenues available to us to return Randy to Canada. He will get back to me shortly with his results, as he just received Randy's file and my letter from the Canadian Prime Minister, Right Honourable Stephen Harper. Things move so slowly as you are well aware but we are continuing to keep our spirits up!
Randy is receiving letters and cards from FPSS members, family and friends. He only wishes that he could reply to everyone but sending post out is very difficult. He appreciates that people understand this fact. The letters make him feel so much closer to home and help him forget for awhile. He wishes to thank everyone for their support, letters, prayers and assistance with medical expenses! Randy misses his siblings, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and wishes to send them all his love and appreciation! Randy thanks Kay Danes, FPSS and everyone for their continued letters and support. He is pleased that he has not been forgotten in Vietnam!
Randy received the "Canadian" beaded necklace that Robbie & Colbie [siblings] made him for his birthday in March. He says that he loves it and wears it ALL the time!
GO LEAFS GO
[The Leafs are a Canadian Hockey Team]