By Lt. Eduardo Mazareigos, AA/Public Information Officer
and Capt. Darren Chamblerain
Salinas Valley State Prison
Employees of Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) attend the 2015 Campagnolo Gran Fondo, in support of the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s (CAF), Operation Rebound, a cycling event held in San Diego on April 12. The event was attended by more than 1,800 cyclists.
To support this event SVSP staff raised more than $6,400 for the charity. Proceeds were raised by holding a two-day bake sale; however, the vast majority was raised through personal donations. SVSP was the top fundraiser for the event and was given the honor of leading out the procession at the start line.
Capt. Matthew Atchley, a Navy veteran and avid cyclist, wanted to find a charity close to his heart. Being a veteran, peace officer and cyclist, the Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Operation Rebound was a perfect fit. Operation Rebound is a sports and fitness program for American military personnel, veterans and first responders with permanent physical disabilities. It provides opportunities to pursue active, athletic lifestyles by offering access to funding for equipment, training, sports clinics and competition expenses.
When Atchley announced his idea, he committed to raise $1,000 to support and attend the event. He advised staff of the cause and his intention to take part in the event, and by day one had already reached his financial goal through individual financial donations. That’s when SVSP decided to up the ante by holding the bake sale, and the personal donations kept flowing.
“I’m absolutely amazed at our staff here at SVSP,” Atchley said. “They always pull together for a great cause and give back to our communities, especially for a cause that supports our peers who have received a permanent disability and want to continue an active lifestyle.”
Working with acting Capt. Darren Chamberlain, Atchley helped create a cycling club, the “SV Cyclopaths,” in order to establish coordinated team participation for this event, as well as promote healthy living with staff and attend future cycling fundraising efforts. Five members of the newly formed Cyclopaths all rode together in the 56-mile ride.
SVSP opened in May 1996 on approximately 300 acres in Monterey County. The institution provides long-term housing for 3,530 minimum- and maximum-custody male inmates and employs 1,395 people.