Marti Resch said that she has been “institutionalized” in the prison system for 50 years.

Not as an incarcerated offender, but as a volunteer for the last five decades.

Resch, 78, began volunteering in the prison system when she was 28 years old. And she’s still at it today at the Lansing Correctional Facility.

Administrators and staff at the state prison recognized her work with a reception Wednesday morning at the facility.

Joe Norwood, secretary of the Kansas Department of Corrections, and Sam Cline, warden at the Lansing Correctional Facility, attended the gathering and praised Resch for her efforts.

“Volunteering has filled my life with joy,” said Resch. “I am non-judgmental. I’ve seen a lot of compassion in here.” 

Resch is one of some 500 volunteers who dedicate their time and talent at the Lansing Correctional Facility.

Volunteers serve as mentors to the inmates and assist with such things as religious services, re-entry programs and resume writing.

“They are a benefit to our staff with what they are able to do,” said Gloria Geither, head of the volunteer program for the Kansas Department of Corrections. “Our volunteers stay committed to offenders for years. They are very dedicated to the work that they do.”

Resch volunteers about 30 hours each week at the LCF, traveling back and forth from her home in Independence, Missouri.

“Marti has been a wonderful member of our volunteer group,” said Cline. “I can’t think of anyone more generous and committed to the facility.”

Cline said that inmates appreciate the time and effort of the volunteers.

“They can vent to the volunteers,” he said. “(A volunteer) is a safe person for them.”

Although she has 50 years of volunteer service in the prison system, Resch said she has no intention of retiring.