Jon Ponder, a former bank robber pardoned Tuesday evening by President Donald Trump, said Wednesday afternoon that it “was 100% Jesus” who turned his life around while he was behind bars.
“I want to thank God for turning my life around,” Ponder told Fox News’ Dana Perino. “It was 100% Jesus that turned my life in a 180-degree turn in another direction and I cannot stop thanking Him enough.”
His interview with Perino came the afternoon after he was fully pardoned by the president, who called Ponder’s life journey “a beautiful testament to the power of redemption.”
Trump first honored Ponder in the Rose Garden in 2018, according to CBN News.
“While Jon was in prison, he began reading the Bible and listening to Christian radio,” the president said Tuesday. “One day, he heard the Rev. Billy Graham on the radio proclaim Jesus wants to be Lord of your life. On that day, Jon dedicated his life to Christ. He spent the rest of his time in prison studying the Bible.”
Since leaving prison, Ponder has also formed a friendship with retired FBI Special Agent Richard Beasley, who arrested Ponder. The agent told Ponder he had been praying for him.
In the time since he was freed, Ponder founded Hope for Prisoners, Inc., a nonprofit that assists those leaving incarceration and transitioning back into the workforce.
“I can’t even find the words to describe how grateful I was in that moment when the president had given me a pardon,” Ponder told Perino. “I had no idea that it was gonna happen, so it was just an incredible, incredible surprise.”
November 2020 will mark the first time Ponder has ever been allowed to cast his ballot in a presidential election — a privilege he says “means the world” to him.
“I am just so grateful to be able to participate in one of the greatest privileges that we have as Americans, to participate in that electoral process,” he said. “So it’s something I’m looking very, very forward to, something I’ve waited a long time for.”