Jefferson Award Winner, July: Mary Fulton

MADISON (WKOW) — A Madison woman has made it her mission to better the community, volunteering with people who she says often get treated unfairly.

Mary Fulton has spent nearly 20 years working with the Madison-Area Urban Ministry (MUM). She helps parents who are incarcerated stay connected with their children.

“You want your community to be a good place to live, not just for your family but for everyone,” said Jefferson Award Winner Mary Fulton.

Whether it’s taking kids by bus to a prison in Fond du Lac or helping parents record themselves reading a book for their kids, she’s breaking barriers.

It’s something parents in prison, like Jennifer Zech, are thankful for.

“I got her a dancing book and read that to her and she said she enjoyed it. The reading connections have helped so she can see me since she’s so far away,” she said.

Fulton’s giving heart is a long time in the making. Her parents, both professors, opened her eyes to different cultures at a young age.

In 1963, she had a front-row seat as history unfolded.

Her father marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in Birmingham, peacefully protesting against racism. The two men, along with many others, were arrested and spent a weekend in jail. It was there that Martin Luther King Jr. wrote the famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

Her parents passed along that passion she now has for helping others.

“We have to make a decision when you see something that’s not right to try to affect change,” said Fulton.

Linda Ketcham, the executive director of MUM, gave Fulton a glowing review.

“One of the most compassionate people I’ve ever met and her heart is where all of our hearts should be, I think,” said Ketcham.

Fulton hopes one mother, one child and one trip at a time- she can continue to make a difference.

“We have some work to do, and journey together is what we need to focus on,” said Fulton.

Mary doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon. She is now working with a newer program offered by MUM called Circles of Support. She along with other volunteers help recently incarcerated people return to the community.

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