Born in Lincoln, Nebraska, Don was raised with four sisters by a career U.S. Army officer and his wife, and served a tour of duty in Viet Nam as a Chief Warrant Officer and combat helicopter pilot.
Convicted in 1981 for his involvement with a large-scale marijuana smuggling operation in New Mexico, Don earned unprecedented commendations for his work in prison with other inmates and for establishing prisoner self-help and educational programs in several institutions. He also won the support of such notable authorities as the late Senator Barry S. Goldwater, Senator John McCain, and numerous other leaders in state and federal legislatures, as well as Departments of Corrections and Justice.
His first-hand experiences with inmates of all ages in federal prison inspired Don to address the desperate need for a support system for inmates upon release from prison. Within six months of his own release from federal prison in April of 1988, Don founded The Society for Return to Honor as an Arizona non-profit corporation to facilitate the reentry of former criminal offenders back into society and to develop juvenile diversion programs to redirect the behavior of juveniles in trouble.
Since that time, Don has written two books detailing his experiences, A Matter of Time which is in development as a major motion picture, and Return To Honor that describes on a chapter-by-chapter basis the core values and key principles he learned that enabled him to turn his life around and not only overcome adversity but to transform it and his “adversaries.”
Don and his Return To Honor organization has been featured on numerous television talk shows and news interviews. Don’s efforts have been greatly acknowledged by countless Corrections and Law Enforcement Professionals as well as numerous political leaders across the United States.
Don lectures extensively in prisons and jails around the country, and to public, corporate and political gatherings whenever possible. He is now providing liaison work for a solar energy company that proposes to use inmate labor that will provide for educational and job training while incarcerated, and accumulated savings to enable participants to transition back into society with jobs, skills and financial stability. He also trains correctional and detentions officers in county jails in Arizona, and expects that effort to expand as his efforts continue to show marked improvement in attitudes and behavior on both sides of the “walls”.
His book, A Matter of Time, has been adapted to film by Michael Blake, the Academy Award Winner for the Dances with Wolves screenplay. Initial development for a major motion picture is currently underway as a series of A-list actors and filmmakers are in communication to bring this great work to the big screen.