Prisons’ Leadership Honors Fallen Comrades in Staff Appreciation Ceremony

Author: John Bull, Communications Officer

Celebrates Staff for a Year of Dedication in a Pandemic

North Carolina Prisons leadership today honored the men and women who fell in the line of duty, mourned those who succumbed to COVID-19 and celebrated the staff who have worked with such dedication during the past year of pandemic.

“It is a time to honor our men and women we’ve lost,” said Todd Ishee, Commissioner of Prisons, during a ceremony today for Correctional Officers and Correctional Employee Appreciation Week.

“We remember our family members who lost their battles with COVID-19, and we honor the heroes in our prisons who have worked so long and so hard to fight the virus,” Ishee said.

The somber ceremony at the Memorial Wall outside the prison administration building included prayers and scripture readings in memory of the 26 men and women who died in the line of duty over the past century.

One by one their names and the dates of their deaths were read, some dating back to 1915, as the Honor Guard stood at attention.

Assistant Commissioner Brande Harris led a moment of silence for the staff who died over the past year from their battles with the virus, dedicated men and women who served in uniforms, nursing scrubs and work boots.

One by one, Caswell Correctional Warden Doris Daye intoned the names of the 12 staff members who died of COVID-19 and honored their work, their colleagues, their families and their passing.

The crowd of around 70 masked wardens, prisons administrators, regional directors, program managers and senior staff then paid homage in the dedication of a new Wall of Honor created in the prison administration building in “memory of our fallen heroes.”

The celebration of the staff in appreciation for their service over the past year turned upbeat during a lunch barbecue as attendees enjoyed some loud music under a cloudless sky at tables set up in a parking lot overlooking Central Prison.

The menu was traditional North Carolina – Eastern-style barbecue (naturally), sweet tea (of course) and banana pudding (it’s a North Carolina thing). The food was served by Prisons’ senior leadership, along with large helpings of gratitude.

“We pay tribute to the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in the performance of their duties and honor those who died battling this pandemic,” Ishee said. “But there are 13,500 men and women who need to know they have been heroes over the past year of sickness, pain, death and tragedy. I cannot thank them enough for what they do for us all, every day.”

See more photos from the event here.

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