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Parole officer, former inmate forge unlikely friendship: “I am extremely proud of this guy”

28 July 2022

MINNEAPOLIS — Two friends, taking a walk, after coming down a very unlikely path.

It’s a journey that started 33 years ago. Micah Meline was adopted from Korea by a Minnesota family. But he felt like he didn’t fit. Drugs and a life of crime led him to the Hennepin County Adult Corrections Center.

“I think when I was sitting in B block, listening to all the noise, I didn’t know if my life would be different,” Micah said.

After leading a police chase, his future looked grim, with years of incarceration and addiction.

“I was defeated. I was like 130 pounds, my face was sunk in, picked it apart because of the meth,” Micah said.

Levi Scheele was Micah’s parole officer.

“Looking at him that day, I know he was off and [something was] terribly wrong with him,” Levi said.

“It all started with Levi, pushing me to see that I could do something different,” Micah said.

After years of tense back and forths, Levi got through, and Micah got sober courtesy of treatment at MN Adult & Teen Challenge.

“[Micah] kept showing up for me,” Levi said.  

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Levi Scheele and Micah Meline

CBS

“It’s like he cared before I cared about myself,” Micah said. “He gave me chances that I didn’t believe I was worthy of.”

And five years later, they got the chance to walk back in to prison, together.

Micah took the stage, and Levi took a seat.

“Meth caused me to go crazy. It caused me to make decisions, to do things I would have never done,” Micah said.

He talked of his trials, and his triumph of sobriety.

“As of June 6, I celebrated five years,” Micah said.

And who it was who got him to the other side.

“I had to meet with my parole officer, he’s sitting right over there. I remember when I met with him he said, ‘Man, something’s going on, but I want to give you a chance,'” Micah said.

His audience was captive, and his message was received.

“To give back and come and tell … my story like he just did, you know, it’s phenomenal,” said resident Mark Borst.

“For me it was the relationship with his parole officer. POs and criminals don’t likely build a relationship, but they did, and that really inspired me,” said resident Ryan Poppen.

As Levi watched, Micah inspired, before walking out of the workhouse again.

“I am extremely proud of this guy,” Levi said.

It’s a bond no court could have ever predicted.

“I can’t thank him enough,” Micah said.

After 11 years, Micah was recently reunited with his daughter. No one was prouder than Levi. He said that was the goal they both had dreamed of.

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Author: Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

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