Letter: I owe Grand County a big apology for illegally growing marijuana
Citizens of Grand County, last May I pleaded guilty to tax evasion, intent to distribute marijuana, and growing too many plants. I consequently served four months in jail and spent that time reflecting on the impact of my choices.
I know what I did was wrong and apologize to the people of this amazing community. This includes, but is not limited to, the kids and parents of the Winter Park Competition Center where I have worked for more than a decade, my co-workers at Winter Park, my neighbors in Granby Ranch, law enforcement, my friends and family, and to anyone my choices negatively impacted.
I operated my marijuana business illegally. I did not keep within my allowed plant count. I also did not pay my taxes. I own up to my mistakes and am deeply sorry to those I have hurt. Writing this letter is just the first of the many steps I am taking to help make amends with the community.
I deeply care about the people of Grand County and want to continue living here. In doing so, I know I can contribute to the well-being of this community.
While in jail, I began writing this letter, as I had a lot of time to think about where I went wrong. I took a hard look back on my life. This experience has helped me learn many valuable lessons. Upon self-reflection, I have also learned more about myself. These lessons, my commitment to this community, and my faith in God are helping me move forward and grow as a person.
Jail is not fun, and I never want to go back. I made a promise to myself that I am now publicly making to members of this community. Every day when I wake up, I promise to try to help at least one person as an effort to give back to this community.
For me, this means every day is a new day with hope that I can regain the trust of my friends, family, co-workers, the Winter Park Competition Center, their families and my neighbors. I love coaching skiing and want to have an authentically positive influence on the athletes in the ski program.
I recognize I have violated the trust of my colleagues, many families, and citizens of this community. I hope my actions today and every day going forward will prove to everyone that I have made positive and permanent changes in my behavior as a result of learning from my mistakes. I know I have become a better person from this experience. I hope you will see this in me too.
I have been sober for 16 years. I commit to continuing with my sobriety and remain active in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). I want to share my story with others in the effort to help those in this community struggling with addiction stay sober. Through my actions today and every day going forward, I will demonstrate the importance of thinking before acting to avoid making bad choices. I can share how my bad choices led me to jail. My choices also resulted in many other negative consequences, including letting down this community. I will continue to be active in my volunteer work and helpful with the church. This includes, for example, helping out with community dinners hosted by the church on Friday nights.
I strive to be a positive role model and leader within our community, and to be a person of positive action with a new outlook on life. In closing, I know the choices I made that culminated with time in jail, and this apology letter represents a bad chapter of my life. But I do not want this bad chapter to define me. I can sincerely say that I have learned from this experience. I hope to have the chance to share what I have learned with others, preventing them from making mistakes as I did.
I also know that it will take time to regain trust. That is OK. I plan on making this long journey one day at a time. For now, I ask for your forgiveness, for time to demonstrate how I will not repeat my mistakes, and for the opportunity to give back to people of Grand County.
— Matthew Niedermeyer, Granby
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