PDT Staff Writer
The administration and staff at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville took the opportunity Thursday to honor State Representative Terry Johnson (R-McDermott).
“It’s just small tokens of appreciation to Representative Johnson for his dedication and loyal service to this facility,” SOCF Warden Donald Morgan said. “We presented him with one of our polished Folger Adam’s keys, as well as an American flag that was flown here at the facility on Aug. 7, in his honor for his service to this institution.”
A Folger Adams key is one of the brass keys that used to operate one of the original locks at the facility when it was opened in 1972.
“I’m real proud to have this key,” Johnson said. “I’m like a kid with a toy. The flag was flown over the facility, so that’s going to be great, and it’s in a presentation case with a key on top of it. That will go up in my office in Columbus. When they walk in they’ll know that SOCF is in my district.”
Johnson appeared to be genuinely moved by the gesture.
“It blows me away,” Johnson said. “Growing up here in Scioto County I’ve seen this prison since its inception and folks I went to school with that worked here, it has just been a part of our community.”
Johnson said he was a young National Guard captain when the SOCF riot occurred on Easter weekend of 1993.
“I was here at that time in solidarity with the guards and the community,” Johnson said. “I have been impressed over the years with the fantastic work that they’ve done, from the warden down to all the folks who do service work here. The guards are my comrades in uniform as far as I’m concerned, and the impact that this facility has had on our state is just enormous. They provide a wonderful service. They do it well in a professional manner, and I’m proud to be associated with them.”
Johnson said his purpose in going to Columbus was to represent the workers in the community including those employed at SOCF.
“You learn a lot about leadership when you command, and I was in command a long time in the Ohio Army National Guard,” Johnson said. “You learn that it’s not about you. It’s not about leadership, getting what they want. It’s about taking care of your soldiers - taking care of your troops. I’ve been impressed with that in the leadership here at SOCF. Their primary focus is on the mission and taking care of the people that do the mission. So from a leader standpoint I’m really impressed with what they do there.”
Morgan is one of those management people who has come up through the ranks.
“I started out as a correctional officer. I served in every position, all the way to warden inside of SOCF, and was the first warden to ever be promoted in-house as well as served as a correctional officer at SOCF,” Morgan said. “I think it helps understand the difficult mission that our staff is given to deal with every day at this level-4 facility. But more importantly it helps me relate to them as far as how I can help them improve the operation of this facility to get that task done.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at email@example.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.