Everyone who was Amy Wickes Friend on Facebook will remember her iconic pose: one hip thrust out, a big smile on her face as she flashed a peace sign. Amy left us too soon on March 9, 2017. To understand her life, one need only read her important book, From Privilege to Prison: Finding Purpose in a Dark Place. Anyone being abused in jail, in prison or in any part of the criminal justice system could count on Amy to come to their aid. Anyone with influence, be it County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien, City Attorney Rick Pfieifer, all the judges in Franklin County, media people – including me as the Editor of this newspaper – could count on the Wickes treatment: a passionate and unrelenting appeal for morality, decency, justice and facts.
I worked with Amy on cases involving the conditions in the Franklin County Jail. She was an advocate for those with drug problems who needed treatment, not incarceration. In many cases, she tried to help prisoners who were sick and not receiving the medical attention they deserved. Amy would do anything she could to assist the friends and family of incarcerated individuals worried about their treatment. And as a lasting legacy to Amy Wickes, the Frankin County workhouse might consider making it easier for those released to get back home.
The Free Press wrote about Amy's work as one of our Free Press Heroes. It is hard to imagine someone as full of life and purpose as Amy being gone. In her all-too-short time she blessed us with her presence. The afterglow will endure as her uncompromising and principled legacy. Amy stood for love, peace and solidarity with all God’s creatures. Her loss will be immeasurable.