John and Linda Taft followed Petrona's case from the very beginning- and wanted to help, as they have with so many other children. Devout Catholics, they approached Sister Rachel Sena, who heads the Maya Ministry for the Palm Beach Diocese and expressed to her their interests in providing Petrona with a nurturring, loving home. Very few came forward with such a gesture for a child charged with first degree murder-they did.
John and Linda Taft are from Vergennes, Vermont the third oldest City in the United States and also one of the smallest. Linda, who was born and raised in Vergennes, VT graduated high school and went on to become an RN in 1963. Linda, began to work at a school for juvenile delinquents and dependent children where she and John met. John Taft graduated with a B.S. in education and was a classroom teacher and later an administrator at that school.
Linda left the work force to raise their three daughters- who are all married with children of their own. While raising their daughters, John Taft received his Masters from the University of Vermont in l969 while Linda attended Godard College for her Bachelors Degree and Norwich University for a Masters degree in Social Policy. John Taft soon after became the Superintendent of an alternate residential program for teenage boys before becomming the Assistant Director of the Criminal Justice Training Council.
Linda returned to work when their youngest daughter started school. She worked as a nurse and later as a Nursing Instructor. Linda worked as a Social Work supervisor at a community mental health center before becoming the Children Mental Health Director at the State of Vermont Department of Mental Health. Linda, later went on to be the Clinical Director and Hospice Director of Lamoille County Home Health and Hospice. John Taft, worked at the Vermont State Hospital for fifteen years prior to his early retirment eight years ago. While there, John was first the administrator of the Maximum Security Forensic Unit and later Principal of the academic program and simultaneoulsy head of the substance abuse program.
John and Linda's love for children, particularly at risk children has been evident throught their professional career. Now - retired- with Petrona they are doing what they know to do- they are giving love and a nurturring home to a child, among us, who has been the victim of so much abuse. For John and Linda, it is just a normal thing to do. In their Holiday card for this year, 2004, the Taft's wrote to their friends and family : "We can say with confidence that because our three older girls have brought us such happiness and joy we were able to bring Petlon into our home which she fills with the brightest imaginable smile. She is a gift like no other."
The Taft's can be reached by e mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org