Day at the Legislature marked by Freedom Awards for Distinguished Service
W.Va. – Intercepting smuggled drugs, going the distance for
at-risk youth and soldiering on after a horrific crash are just some of the
actions recognized Friday with Freedom Awards for Distinguished Service during
Corrections Day at the Legislature.
The 10 recipients are the second group so
honored by Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Jeff Sandy, and the
first since West Virginia’s prison, jail and juvenile services systems were
consolidated into the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
The secretary’s Freedom Award recognizes
employees for performance that exceed the normal expectations involved in their
duties and responsibilities.
“What you do in West Virginia is protect
freedom,” Sandy told the honorees, their family members and others who gathered
for Friday’s award ceremony. “You maintain the freedom for our people to live
their lives without worry.”
The honorees also took part in floor
ceremonies in both the Senate and House of Delegates and received citations
declaring Friday as Corrections Day. Representatives from Corrections delivered
the opening prayer in each chamber, and the Corrections and Rehabilitation
Honor Guard presented the colors to open the House floor session.
of the 2019 Secretary’s Freedom Award for Distinguished Service:
Category: Correctional Officer
Duncan, Correctional Officer II, Salem Correctional Center, for helping
to thwart an attempt to smuggle contraband during an inmate visit, by picking
up on discussions of the scheme.
Category: Correctional Officer, Juvenile
William Reed, Correctional Officer V, Robert Shell Juvenile Center,
for consistently leading by example at his facility and inspiring those around
him to follow his example.
Category: Community-Based Employee
Martin, Senior Corrections Program Specialist, Wood County Youth Reporting
Center, for her leadership and mentoring at her facility and in
her community. Martin is a certified recovery coach who teaches mental health
first aid. Her efforts on behalf of her youths include driving them to and from
their AA meetings and convincing the mother of one juvenile to seek addiction
treatment on behalf of her family.
Category: Facility Superintendent
Roberts, interim Superintendent, Stevens Correctional Center, for
calmly and effectively leading the response to a possible Fentanyl contraband
exposure that coincided with a visit by agency and department leaders to this
Category: Field Support Staff
Richmond, Unit Manager, Beckley Correctional Center,
whose keen eye and quick thinking intercepted an attempt to sneak several bags
of illegal drugs into her facility. Richmond is also fighting substance use
disorders as a certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional, a certified
Cognitive Behavior Intervention-Substance Abuse trainer and the elected secretary
of the West Virginia Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors.
Category: Headquarters Support Staff
Huffman, Corrections Program Manager I, IT
department, for going above and beyond to integrate the emerging network of
short-term holding centers with the division’s booking processes. Huffman has
repeatedly provided after-hours assistance to ensure smooth and accurate
intakes and releases.
Roper, Investigator II, for doggedly working the largest caseload
in the investigations section. Roper is the sole investigator based in the
Eastern Panhandle. Roper has developed cases involving inmate deaths, assaults
and contraband smuggling.
Category: Parole Officer
Sovine, Probation and Parole Officer I, for responding to gunfire outside the
Beckley Parole Office. Sovine helped disarm and secure a male suspect, provide
first aid to a shooting victim, and assist on-scene and responding law
Category: Special Operations
Eric Harron, Correctional Officer IV, for successfully overseeing such
assignments as the transfer of Anthony Correctional Center inmates, a mass
transport of suspects apprehended during a drug task force operation in
Parkersburg, and support for the campaign rally by President Trump in Wheeling.
Category: Special Recognition – “Gung Ho” Award
Dotson, Correctional Officer II, North Central Regional Jail, for
inspiring his colleagues at Corrections, within DMAPS and beyond with his
continuing perseverance and commitment to service. Dotson was returning from a
hospital transport after a 12-hour shift in September 2015 when his state
vehicle was struck by a truck. Dotson suffered severe and permanent injuries. Even
after enduring multiple surgeries, he qualified for lifetime disability. He
instead chose to return to duty. That road has been far from easy, but he lives
by principles that compel him to see things through and finish the job.
governor’s communications hub has posted a video of the award ceremony: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOxCxnEpSck&feature=youtu.be.