By Dennis Maher, NEIP board member and exoneree
When I was doing life in prison, I used to dream about being a father. Thanks to the New England Innocence Project, that dream came true.
When my son Joshua was born, I cried - of course - as many new fathers do. I remember telling my father that he was going to have a grandson, and he told me “now, you’re a man.” When my daughter was born, I named her Aliza Karin Lucy. She was named after both the lawyers who got me out of prison, and my mother.
As my kids grew older, I was able to do so many fun things with them — take them to the lake to go fishing, or playing outside in the sprinkler. When they started school, I got to see how smart they were — when I was helping them with their math homework it was already hard for me to understand (it’s not the way I learned as a kid!)
When I come home from a hard day, they say ‘hi Daddy’ and give me a big hug and we talk about our days. When it’s time for them to go to bed, we always give each other a hug and a kiss — even if we had been arguing. They make my life so full.
I wouldn’t have any of this if it weren’t for the New England Innocence Project and the work that they do. This world is a part of my kids’ lives, too — they come to conferences and have met lots of other exonerees. It brings out so much pride in me to say that after all I’ve been through I am able to say that I’m a father with a loving wife and two beautiful children.