By WAYNE ALLEN
PDT Staff Writer
Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) held its 19th annual memorial ceremony May 15 to honor its fallen employees who have given their life in service.
The employees who lost their lives at SOCF and were remembered at the service include Arthur Sprouse, Gary Underwood, Eric Bowling, Beverly Taylor and Robert (Bobby) Vallandingham.
Keynote speaker for the event was Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Gary Mohr.
Mohr spoke about tradition and the importance of the memorial.
“All of these individuals made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us to be able to be here today. Their dedication was important in making SOCF and the department who we are today,” Mohr said.
Mohr also spoke about SOCF Corrections Officer William Bauer, who was honored with this year’s Ronald C. Marshall award for the most outstanding correctional officer.
He also spoke of SOCF Warden Donnie Morgan, who was named Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Warden of the year.
“A prison is not just brick and mortar. A prison, much like a church, is made up of its people. The Southern Ohio Correctional Facility — its staff today, its staff through history and all of its tradition — has become the cornerstone of this agency,” Mohr said.
Morgan told those in attendance about the DRC impact award.
“Within the last year our director, Gary Mohr, introduced the DRC impact award. This award is in the form of a challenge coin. It is awarded to staff who makes an impact within the department,” Morgan said. “It only seems fitting that the employees who made the greatest sacrifice should receive this award. As their sacrifice has played a major part in the development of our department. So, it’s with great honor that I present the fallen employees with the DR&C with the impact award, by presenting a challenge coin to each family member attending today’s ceremony.”
The front of the coin features the names of the SOCF employees killed in the line of duty. The reverse features the American and Ohio flags flying over the institution.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or firstname.lastname@example.org.