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Relationships change – Wallace Henley and Chuck Colson

In 1973, Wallace Henley and Chuck Colson both worked in the Nixon White House. Colson was Special Counsel to the President. Henley occupied a significantly lower position.

By 1974, both Henley and Colson found themselves in Alabama. Henley, after leaving the White House, responded to a previously-ignored call to become a pastor. Colson, after leaving the White House, became a prisoner in a Federal facility at Maxwell Air Force Base.

When Henley first went to visit Colson, he reflected on how things had changed:

I was stunned when I saw Chuck. I had known him in the White House garbed in expensive lawyer-type, elegantly tailored pinstriped suits. Now Chuck was dressed in prison garb, the pants and shirtsleeves too-short. They smelled of the prison laundry, where Chuck had been put to work folding clothes.

When we were together in meetings in the White House Roosevelt Room, across from the Oval Office, Chuck, a senior staffer, had been at the big table in the middle of the room. I was a low-grade aide who sat around the periphery. The unofficial protocol dictated that those not at the table were to be silent, take good notes, and not bother the big people.

But on that first encounter at Maxwell, the protocols were gone.

Henley subsequently assisted Colson in the latter’s Prison Fellowship outreach.

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