By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor

(Editor’s note: This is part of a series highlighting happenings around the department. Some websites listed here may not be available on a CDCR computer. E-mail items for First Watch to don.chaddock@cdcr.ca.gov)

All across the state, CDCR employees were busy helping others. From schools to domestic violence shelters, state prison workers were there to lend a hand. The community responded in kind, through words and deeds, even delivering water to our thirsty fire crews.

SERVING UP CHARITY – Thanks for Lt. Christene Zoucha for tipping us off about the latest Tip-A-Cop fundraiser. Correctional officers, sergeants, lieutenants and associate wardens from Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) along with staff from Tracy PD and officers from the California Highway Patrol served drinks, meals and cleared tables recently at Texas Roadhouse as a fundraiser for Special Olympics. They served 400 meals and raised $5,560. DVI boasted 27 servers throughout the day. Some of the honored attendees included DVI Warden Jerome Price, DVI Chief Deputy Warden Kathryn Kesterson, Law Enforcement Torch Run Associate Director Camille Cooney, Tracy Mayor Michael Maciel, Tracy Police Chief Larry Esquivel and Tracy City Manager Troy Brown. …

* * *

HOOP DREAMS – High Desert State Prison’s Lt. Gregory Crow tells us staff recently donated basketball hoops to Long Valley Charter School. “It’s one of many donations we make to the community each year,” he said. Warden M. Eliot Spearman said he’s proud is of the “free-hearted HDSP employees who look for opportunities to assist different entities throughout Lassen County.” Way to score one for the community, HDSP. …

* * *

PERFECT HARMONY – Much like their 1971 classic TV commercial said, “I’d like to buy the world a Coke and keep it company,” Coca Cola drove into Gabilan Conservation Camp 38 with a surprise donation of drinks for the thirsty fire crews. “They dropped off two pallets of Powerade, a pallet of Dasani Water and a pallet of Vitamin Water,” writes Camp Commander Lt. Michael Nilsson. “All the driver asked for in return was a picture of the Chief and I with him and the donation. We obliged and began handing out the much appreciated drinks.” According to Lt. Nilsson, Jo Ann Prokuriza, Coco-Cola Supply Chain Manager for the Salinas Distribution Center, organized the donation. …

* * *

CHARITY IN THE FOOTHILLS – Over the last year, Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) has raised over $12,300 for local charities, according to Community Resources Manager Dameion Renault. Some of the charities include Special Olympics of Northern California, Tuolumne Trails (a special needs camp), Tuolumne County District Attorney’s Victim/Witness Center, disabled veterans, Vietnam veterans, Silver Paw Ranch (providing service dogs to veterans), United Way, community libraries, Sonora High School Band and the David Lambert Homeless Shelter. “Recently, a 17-foot travel trailer was given to a disabled veteran via a fundraiser opportunity and he and his family are enjoying the new toy,” Renault writes. …

* * *

PUT A SOCK IN IT – CSP-Sacramento Correctional Officer Thaddeus Friday tells us about a non-profit organization seeking to put socks on the feet of homeless people. He’s worked for CDCR for 15 years. Dubbed Socks4Streets.com, the group has been operating for four years. “Every October we put on a sock drive at various locations throughout Sacramento with the hopes of collecting new socks for our homeless shelters throughout our city for coming winter months,” he writes. “I think that this would be a great way for other officers around the state to help us by donating new packs of socks. They can also donate financially through our web page.” Check out their site or give them a call at 916-997-3343. …

* * *

IT’S ELEMENTARY – Thanks to Lt. Aaron Yderraga at California Correctional Center for letting us know about this next item. Pat Condon, Superintendent and Principal with the Fort Sage Unified School District in Herlong, had high praise for the fire crew at Antelope Conservation Camp 25. “They did a great job and helped us create a playing field for our elementary school. This included brushing the entire field, burning the debris, prepping the field and laying the sod. They worked hard and were professional,” Condon writes. Inmate firefighters perform community service acts such as this all around the state. Great work. …

* * *

SEEING RED – Community Resources Manager Therese Giannelli tells us CSP-Sacramento employees raised $3,571 through t-shirt sales with proceeds benefiting veterans and the Special Olympics of Northern California. The prison employees honor those deployed by wearing their Special Olympics Northern California RED (Remembering Everyone Deployed) shirt under their uniform on RED Shirt Fridays. The shirts were donated by Special Olympics. We salute you, CSP-Sac staff. …

* * *

FAMILY FRIENDLY – Centinela State Prison staff recently presented a $5,000 check to the Center for Family Solutions, according to Lt. Richard Dubbe. The money was generated by inmate fundraisers. The center works to prevent domestic violence, stalking and human trafficking through outreach and education. They also provide a shelter and safety services for victims and domestic violence and their children. Thanks for focusing on families, Centinela.