Fallen officers remembered, not forgotten
By Robin Scott
The services are held during Correctional Officer Appreciation Week each year. Assistant Warden Mitch Bradshaw described the event as, “A celebration of officers, new and old and those that have lost their lives.” He noted that during the service, the names of every fallen officer since the inception of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice are uttered in remembrance of their service and dedication to the agency.
The week of May 3 – 9 is National Correctional Officers Week. The week is set aside to acknowledge the work done by all men and women serving in the field of corrections and to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. Agencies across the nation set aside time for a special service to honor the memory of fallen officers. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice correctional staff and all correctional staff across the nation who have given their lives in the line of duty are honored and their names are read during a roll call.
The week is also a time to recognize and applaud the efforts of all who work within corrections. The TDCJ is also planning an administrative memorial ceremony in Huntsville at the Prison Museum today, May 8. This year’s service will include a special acknowledgement of Sgt. Barbara Shumate, of the Correctional Training and Staff Development Department who was tragically killed in a motor vehicle accident in June, 2008.
The service held at the Dalhart Unit Tuesday included an invocation by Chaplain Brown, a special tribute given by Glen Hataway, the reading of a poem entitled “The Lighting of the Memorial Candle” written by Jaqueline Brown and read by Sgt. Chavez, the lighting of the memorial candle by Brenda Gray, the roll call by Warden Bradshaw and Anthony Marquez, taps performed by Julie Guerrerro, “Heros in Gray” by Lisa Conner, “Honor for the Gray” by Gary Messer, “God Bless America” was sung by the audience followed by the benediction given by Chaplain Brown.
The roll call of fallen officers included 59 names with the most recent being Sgt. Shumate, and the earliest being James Monroe Butler, who died on May 25, 1882. The reverence for each officer and the pride of all of the correctional officers made the memorial service an honorable tribute.