Good Ole Boys Part 1
By RHONDA BIGOVICH, TRT Contributing Writer
The Good Ole’ Boys is a TRT series of personal success stories shared by those who are working to overcome addiction, loss and incarceration. The subjects hope to inspire others to improve their lives with sobriety and self-care.
The Future is Your Choice
Where there is a will there is a way.
Leland ‘Brody’ Muro found the way.
Muro started college in Corcoran State prison in fall of 2010, where he kept a steady 4.0 GPA. His is now two semesters away from getting his AA degree in social work and behavioral science,
After more than 15 years in the California State Prison system, he returned to his home on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation. He is working hard to reestablish himself as an upstanding citizen.
Charlene Horne, Muro’s mother said, “He is making leaps and bounds.”
Proud of her son for making the right choices in his life, she breathes easier knowing that her eldest is now motivated to educate himself, and establish his own home.
When Muro was arrested on Feb.28, 1997 he was charged with a laundry list of felony counts including evading police officers, with several resulting in violent mayhem against the police.
At the time he did not see what the future had in store for him and his family. He would spend nearly a decade-and-a-half of his life away from his children, and other family members.
While in Humboldt County Jail, his wife Michelle Muro and their children were in a fatal car accident, leaving both of his daughters in a San Francisco children’s center to recover from their injuries and Muro’s wife forever gone.
“She was the love of my life” Muro said.
This was his wake up point. He realized that what had led him down the wrong path lost all value. All the things he believed could right the wrongs were small in comparison to what he would have to endure in the next several years.
“The things that are important are right there in front of you,” he said. “You create your own life.”
His biggest loss was his wife. His two daughters lost their mother, and their father was incarcerated, awaiting sentencing.
“I prayed every day for Brody, that when he came back home he would have a more positive outlook,” Horne said. “It took a lot of growing, but thus far he has stayed one step ahead.”
Time is for flying forward for Muro, not backward.
He wakes up early, eager to enjoy the beauty of daybreak. He starts with a drive to a creek, the river or the mountainside, wherever he pleases within a 50-mile radius.
“The trees, animals and birds are beautiful,” Muro said.
Taking in the fresh air of freedom, he always makes up for lost time, by keeping his hands busy.
“Right now school is my hobby,” Muro said.
But, when there is time he also enjoys beading, drawing and working out.
“He is self-supportive and responsible, paying rent and bills on time,” Said Horne.
She enjoys waking up to a warm fire on cold mornings.
“I limit who I associate with. Fully aware, and mindful of personal boundaries,” he said. “It is nice to see old faces, smiles and laughs at good jokes, but then I will continue on with my business.”
Muro was somewhat of a martyr in the 1990s when walking on the wild seemed more normal than not. People seemed more inclined to protect the bad guy—including Muro.
The message of love and respect he conveys today is the complete opposite of what it was then. Today he is an advocate on elder care.
He calls it a hobby, but it’s a part of his warrior spirit. He sees a need and feels strongly about helping them live comfortably.
“Love your family. Respect your elders,” Muro said. “I have so much strength, energy, and will. Some elders don t, so if I give that away it will come back. It helps to keep balance. I hate to see people suffer.”
Muro said his change came from inner peace.
Muro attends church. He also goes to an occasional sweat lodge ceremony. After spending so many years behind bars, he gained numerous years of sobriety.
“If you don’t deal with your own inner flaws, and they are left unattended, there is little hope for positive change,” he said.
While incarcerated, Muro built a long list of accomplishments. He proudly shares vocational certificates from the American Welding Society and a certification in construction education. His name was published in an issue of High-Tech magazine for graduating with a score of 91 percent in Education Process ETA and Customer Service Specialist.
“The police made an example of him back then, and today he is still an example,” she said, “that guy is going forward.”
He is working to become a better father to his daughter. He lives a low key life, while he enjoys good food and constant progress.
Now ready to complete school and move on to his permanent occupation—helping people—proving that his future is his choice.
Muro looks to see what’s in front of him and not what’s left behind.