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Incarcerated Veterans Give Back to Kids

January 30, 2017

Submitted by Dean Mason

Washington Corrections Center

DOC employee Stephen Gonczi hands the President of Toys a check

WCC’s incarcerated veteran Offender representative, Stephen Gonczi proudly presents a check to Dr. Gary Olson, President of Toys for Kids Plus for the amount of $1,920.00. (Photo courtesy of Washington Corrections Center)

As a way of giving back to the community, 174 incarcerated men at Washington Corrections Center (WCC) participated in a three-day walkathon raising nearly $2,000. This major fundraiser is traditionally an annual event conducted at WCC with all proceeds donated to Toys For Kids Plus. The event was not held for two years, so Mr. Stephen Gonczi and his American Legion Post/Vets Group stepped up to the plate, resurrecting it in hopes of keeping the WCC tradition going and had no problems finding eager walkers.

After signing up, each participant found a sponsor, including WCC employees and/or outside family and friends, to pledge cents or dollars per mile walked. Mileage for each participant ranged from one mile to an impressive 86.4 miles with a full range of different ages and athletic strengths. Together, the participants braved the challenge despite weather and sore legs. There was plenty of water, Gatorade, and shade to relax and cool down with music to help keep the momentum going.

The event’s safe and successful completion and its generous contribution to the community is a direct testimony to the support and teamwork displayed by custody, non-custody, volunteers, and the incarcerated veterans group at WCC. Meaningful work promotes facility safety by providing individuals opportunities for self-improvement, promoting the adoption of a strong work ethic, and reducing inmate idleness. The Department is committed to reducing recidivism through a corrections system that reflects these values of the community.

Toys-for-Kids Plus is a non-profit organization providing resources for children in Mason County both for charitable purposes and for the promotion of children’s welfare and safety.