July 20, 2019 – Hartford, WI – On July 15, 2013, six years ago this week, the City of Hartford was rocked by the news of the brutal murder of 19-year-old Jessie Blodgett. Today, her father, Buck Blodgett, has made headlines for forgiving his daughter’s murderer, Daniel Bartelt, and for starting up a non-profit called The LOVE > hate Project, targeting to end male-on-female violence.
One of the key parts of Blodgett’s nonprofit is giving presentations around the state titled, A Message From Jessie. To date, Blodgett has presented Jessie’s story to hundreds of people at college campuses, high schools, conferences, and community groups. He also travels to prisons, impacting inmates around the state of Wisconsin.
Buck Blodgett said he has done “about two dozen” presentations for the state prison system in the last two years, reaching 3,000 inmates and staff. “As The LOVE > hate Project returns to prisons this year that we visited last year, we are hearing more and more stories of the impact,” Blodgett said.
Blodgett stated that last year at Prairie du Chien Correctional, an inmate stood up during the Q&A after the presentation. The inmate said, “I don’t believe you forgave your daughter’s killer; don’t believe you could, don’t believe you would. I know I couldn’t, and I definitely wouldn’t.”
Blodgett replied, “I didn’t drive across the state and come to prison today to hear you say you can’t and won’t. We need you. You’re getting out soon and your calling needs you to answer it.”
When Blodgett returned to Prairie du Chien Correctional this year, he witnessed the same inmate attended the presentation with an entirely different attitude. He learned that Prairie du Chien had since started their own program called The Forgiveness Class. The inmate leader for the class was the same inmate who expressed his opposing viewpoints just the year prior.
Blodgett shared his new goal of expanding his reach within the prison system with a new, 4-part, faith-based series. “I’m hoping to distribute the video series farther and wider than I can do in person in other states,” he said.
“Buck has been invited into all the prisons within the state of Wisconsin. He’s made such an impact that it has caught the attention of the wardens and the chaplains. The chaplains wanted a faith-based presentation, so this series is called The F-Words…Forgiveness, Faith, Fruitfulness, and Fortitude,” said John Bass, pastor at Cedar Springs Church, 3128 Slinger Road, Slinger. Bass also serves on The LOVE > hate Project Board of Directors.
“Buck is just a dynamite guy. Cedar Springs Church has just fallen in love with him and his message of love and forgiveness,” Bass said. “Our church has taken on The LOVE > hate Project as one of our missions because it’s about something we are passionate about; love, forgiveness, and overcoming and conquering hate. He’s been a huge part of our church; people look up to him and follow his example. The congregation has grown through Joy and Buck’s forgiveness,” said Bass.
The series is being recorded at Cedar Springs during their 9:30 a.m. service. Blodgett shared that Part 3 will be recorded Sunday, July 28, 2019.
More information about The Love>Hate Project may be found via a video on their Facebook page that can be viewed by clicking HERE.
Photo Credit: The LOVE > hate Project