A paralegal with five children. A vice president at a bank. A veteran with an honorable discharge.

They're among nearly two dozen people who also had criminal convictions in Colorado.

Until Monday.

"It's gotten in the way of building what they consider to be more meaningful lives. I've often said Colorado should be the worst place to commit a crime, but the best place to get a second chance," Governor John Hickenlooper said on Monday.

RELATED: Among 22 people pardoned was man who earned doctorate after release

The governor announced pardons for 22 people who once committed crimes ranging from shoplifting and drug offenses to robbery.

All completed their sentences, in some cases decades ago. As of Monday, their convictions are forgiven, including Wayne Thomas.

He's a father and a husband who's earned a masters and then a doctorate in health science.

When he was a teenager Thomas went behind bars charged with robbery, assault and kidnapping.

"I took accountability and I showed how hard I work," he said.

He's changed so much in the years since even political opponents agree.

"This is a guy that continues to find ways to improve our community," said 18th Judicial District District Attorney George Brauchler.

He's running for attorney general has opposed some high profile decisions from the governor. In this case fully supports Hickenloope'sr decision.

"I think Wayne is the kind of person that should be heralded in front of the community as someone who has made mistakes and figured out way to over come them," Brauchler said.

So much so, he called the governor's council around three years ago when Thomas first applied for pardon.

Then the phone call came Monday it was granted.

"What it does for me is the validation is all that hard work paid off it's on paper that it paid off," Thomas said.

Like so many decisions Thomas makes, he changed his life because of this reason.

"I didn't do this to get a pardon I did this because it was the right thing to do and I wanted to have a meaningful life," he said.

This is Hickenlooper's most sweeping use of his pardon power to date.

You can see a full list of the people pardoned here: http://bit.ly/2hHjqZY