Dec. 1, 2021
DHS honors W.Va. correctional officers felled by COVID-19
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Homeland Security is honoring two correctional officers lost to COVID-19, adding their names to its Capitol memorial for those who have died in the line of duty.
Homeland Security Jeff Sandy also authorized the issuance of the department's Freedom Pin to the families of Cpl. Mark Rustemeyer and Lt. Delmar Dean, during a Tuesday ceremony at DHS' West Wing headquarters.
Rustemeyer, 58, had served at the Saint Marys Correctional Center in Pleasants County since 1998 when he died Jan. 2 while under treatment for COVID-19. Dean, 49, had been with the W.Va. Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation for more than two decades. Serving at the Northern Regional Jail in Marshall County, Dean had been hospitalized for COVID-19 when he died Feb. 13.
“These have been heartbreaking losses for the DCR family," said Commissioner Betsy Jividen. “As we continue to confront COVID-19, it is important to remember and honor those among us who have gone above and beyond. May their memories be a blessing."
DHS maintains memorials for fallen correctional officers and state troopers as well as for U.S. Armed Services members from West Virginia who have died in Afghanistan and Iraq. With the support of Gov. Jim Justice, Homeland Security introduced the Freedom Pin in 2017 to further honor the men and women whose names are etched on them.
“The Freedom Pin is issued to the families of our deceased Homeland Security heroes and to federal, state, county, and city employees and citizens who have excelled in protecting West Virginia from threats to our way of life from natural disasters and both foreign and domestic enemies," Sandy said. “It is my hope that with this symbol of patriotism, the great state of West Virginia shall never forget their heroism while providing for the safety and security of our state."
# # #