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Shelton Superheroes

June 1, 2018

By DOC Communications

white cake with words not all superhereos wear capes

Superhero cake (Photo Courtesy of DOC Communications)

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“Historically, correctional officers have been viewed as ‘guards,’ occupying isolated and misunderstood positions in prisons and jails. In recent years, the duties of these officers have become increasingly complex and demanding. They are called upon to fill, simultaneously, custodial, supervisory and counseling roles. The professionalism, dedication and courage exhibited by these officers throughout the performance of these demanding and often conflicting roles deserve our utmost respect. The important work of correctional officers often does not receive the recognition from the public it deserves. It is appropriate that we honor the many contributions and accomplishments of these men and women who are a vital component of the field of corrections.”

President Ronald Reagan May 5, 1984

SHELTON – A little thanks goes a long way. The administration and staff at Washington Corrections Center (WCC) acknowledge their employees annually with a recognition ceremony in May, designated in Washington State as Corrections Pride Month. Throughout the month, prisons and other work locations across the Washington State Department of Corrections celebrate their employees, contractors, and volunteers. It is a goal of the department to recognize the work completed by staff and value staff as its greatest asset. It is the employees that help to ensure the mission to improve public safety.

WCC hosted its awards ceremony recognition event on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. Approximately 100 employees and their family members attended the event to celebrate. The guest of honor speaker was Secretary Stephen Sinclair.

“You are mentors, counselors, and so much more,” Sinclair told the employees. “Every day through your actions, you are changing lives and making the public safe.”

The recipients received their certificates from a panel of dignitaries including Assistant Secretary of Prisons Robert Herzog, Teamsters Interim Director of Corrections Sarena Davis, Mason County Fire Chief Matthew Welander, Washington State Rep. Dan Griffey, and Senior Legislative Assistant Pam Shaffer.

Guests were greeted by a three-man band comprised of two maintenance employees and a corrections officer. Custody Officer Samuel Coleman served as the emcee for the event, welcoming the panel and presenting the honor guard.

Superintendent Dan White was one presenter of the recognition awards, which included certificates for six employees who collectively had close to 180 years of service!

Although it was a formal ceremony, audience members were encouraged to not hold back their applause. Through the rounds of clapping, the recipients’ tears of joy during their acceptance speeches, and embracing hugs amongst staff, it was apparent that the time of service has bonded the team.

After lunch was served, HEROs, a volunteer group comprised of employees, presented three people with academic scholarships. The first recipient was an employee who is going back to school with hopes of working in the mental health unit of the facility. The other two recipients were correctional officers' children who are entering college in the fall. The event came to a conclusion after the presentations. However, staff stayed around to continue the congratulations and praise.

This is one example of an entire month packed full of events, appreciative efforts, and time for staff to create new experiences and build connections.