SOCF Conducts Memorial Ceremony
by Frank Lewis
Arthur Sprouse ... Gary Underwood ... Eric Bowling ...Beverly Taylor ... Bobby Vallandingham. Former Southern Ohio Correctional Facility training officer Jerry Tovine slowly read each name of those who had given their lives in the line of duty. And as he did, a member of the SOCF honor guard placed a single red rose on the memorial directly in front of the entrance.
The occasion was the 17th Annual Memorial Ceremony at SOCF Tuesday afternoon.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Assistant Director Linda Janes, spoke briefly to those present for the ceremony.
Its that time of year to recognize he efforts of our staff, and the difficult jobs our staff have to do. And, of course, the hard work and commitment of the DRC employees, who, in the past have made this agency so great, and continue to make this agency so great, Janes said.
Janes said after the ceremony, she and DRC Director Ernie L. Moore had been asked to speak at several such events around the state in recent days, and praised the staff at SOCF.
Its just a fantastic facility with good leadership, and great staff from the correctional officer all the way up to the line management, to the warden, Janes said. We just couldnt ask for better people to run this operation.
Donald Morgan was recently named warden at SOCF.
This memorial ceremony means a lot to the staff here at SOCF, and it means a lot to the families Morgan said. The major importance of it is that we never forget that they gave the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. And that sacrifice should be honored each year for the importance.
Correction Officer Arthur Sprouse was killed at the age of 40, in 1973 by inmate Wayne Raney during an attempted escape and hostage-taking incident.
Correction Officer Gary Underwood, was 24 and was killed during the same attempted escape. Raney, who is still serving a life sentence, was also convicted in Underwoods death.
Shop foreman Eric Bowling was killed at the age of 63 in 1984 by inmate William Bradley, who died of natural causes in 2005.
Teacher Beverly Taylor was 32 when she was killed by inmate clerk, Eddie Vaughn. He too is serving a life sentence for the murder.
Correction Officer Robert Bobby Vallandingham was taken hostage and killed during the SOCF riot that began on Easter Sunday in 1993. He was 40 at the time of his death, and several inmates were convicted and sentenced for his death.
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101 Ext. 232 or email@example.com
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