MOUNT GILEAD – Paige Sales, wearing a white T-shirt on which she had written “Free Bernard” in red and blue marker, walked out of the visitation room Saturday afternoon at the Morrow County Jail.
Tears fell from her eyes.
Sales, 18, had just talked through glass on a phone with Bernard Pastor, her prom date and fellow 2010 Reading High School graduate.
Pastor, 18, is being held in federal detention as supporters try to prevent his deportation. He had been brought from his native Guatemala by his parents at age 3 and lived the past 15 years in the United States, the last six in Reading.
Springdale Police arrested the honor student and soccer star after a minor car accident Nov. 17.
Saturday was visiting day for federal detainees in Mount Gilead; 26 people – including nine of Pastor’s classmates and seven Reading High seniors – made the 300-mile roundtrip drive to Morrow County.
“He was the ultimate gentleman,” Sales said.
“He has the most manners of any of us,” said Ryan Kiefer, 19, another 2010 Reading graduate now at the University of Cincinnati.
Due Tuesday to the intervention of Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Steve Driehaus, D-West Price Hill, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency delayed Pastor’s deportation.
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