Happy Easter

Easter, 2023. I have a few things to share.

First off, today the Escambia County Jail was alight with smiles. The inmates celebrated Easter early this year. Sheriff Heath Jackson arrived at the jailhouse this afternoon in a good mood.

The lawman was dressed in civilian clothes. Blue jeans and boots. A true South Alabamian. He was on a mission along with his employees and constituents.

Namely, the sheriff was serving fried chicken to inmates.

“We started this tradition five years ago,” said the sheriff. “After taking over the facility [we wanted] to provide a good meal and prayer for those [inmates] who wanted to participate.”

Each year the sheriff and his employees don food-safe latex gloves and serve inmates saturated fat from paper boxes. The Easter short thighs come directly from Popeyes in Brewton, Alabama.

The inmates eat as much as they want. Then, they are then led in a chorus of hymn singing. Those who want prayer can receive it. Those who need someone to talk to get just that. It can sometimes be an emotional day.

I personally have a family member in the Escambia County Jail. For me, to know that this is the kind of treatment he receives humbles me.

“Jesus loves us all,” said Sheriff Heath. “Even when we make bad decisions.”

Meantime, in Enterprise, Alabama, young Jimmy Holcomb is celebrating the life of his father, Reverend James Holcomb Junior.

You might have known the Reverend. Everyone did. Although he’s been gone five years. Five years ago today to be exact. He was a good man. Well-loved.

Exactly five years ago, Jimmy’s mother called and said, “James, your daddy just died.” The year was 2018. It was a crushing blow to Jimmy.

Life for Jimmy has taken a lot of turns since then. Since then, Jimmy has changed career paths. He’s decided to follow in the old family business. He enrolled in seminary. He wants to help people the way his father once did.

Jimmy was awarded a scholarship to Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. This is a big deal. His career has taken off. His future is so bright you need sunglasses just to look in his direction.

And I just thought you should know about him.

“I’m sure [my father] would beam,” said Jimmy, “and he’d call everyone on his iPhone if he knew… I can imagine him saying ‘If it was up to me, [Jimmy] would have gone to seminary years ago.”

This Easter, Jimmy celebrates the life and legacy of his father.

And now let’s travel to Greenville, South Carolina. It was a dreary, rainy day today in South Carolina. The family of 7-year-old Riley Faith has been on a roller coaster since her diagnosis of stage-four adrenal cortical carcinoma. It’s a deadly disease.

And Riley Faith has lived up to her namesake. This is a kid with a lot of faith.

Even so, it’s been hard. Riley has spent the last three years in and out of a hospital bed. Her life has been hell on earth.

The day before Easter, she received bad news. The worst news a family could ever receive, in fact.

The hospital from New York called and said Riley’s cancer has spread to the portal vein in her liver. Surgery is no longer an option. Riley needs a miracle. Right now.

And so Simpsonville, South Carolina, is pulling together for a miracle. Tomorrow morning, on Easter Sunday, instead of a typical service, there will be a special time of prayer for Riley Faith at 10:30 A.M. at Life Changers Church in Boiling Springs.

Anyone is welcome to attend and pray for this child. And if you can’t attend, you can pray right where you are.

And once you’re finished praying, maybe you’d consider going a step further and sending a card to Riley Faith. Which is what I’m doing. God knows, Riley’s family could use a few words of love and kindness.

You can write to Riley Faith at: 8349 Valley Falls Rd., Boiling Springs, South Carolina, 29316.

If you can’t think of any words to say, just tell her you love her. Or you could always quote the words of Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson. “Jesus loves us all.”

Which is true you know.


  1. Andy Gartman - April 9, 2023 12:40 pm

    Prayers for Riley Faith and her family. Know and appreciate Sheriff Jackson.

  2. Becky Souders - April 9, 2023 4:14 pm

    Nice, Sean Dietrich. Happy Easter to you!

  3. pattymack43 - April 9, 2023 4:19 pm


  4. Celia - April 10, 2023 12:57 pm

    I’m reading Sunday’s post on Monday morning as I know without doubt I will cry, and I needed to get ready for church yesterday. I grew up in Escambia County at the Canoe, Atmore end of the county, but I relish any news of that area so I was pleased to read of Sheriff Jackson’s service to the jail inmates. Now I’m adding Riley Faith to my prayer list and getting a card ready to mail to her. You do such good in this world, Sean, and even though you make me cry daily, I always feel good after reading your column. Thank you.


Leave a Comment