By Lt. Angelo Gonzalez, AA/PIO
Mule Creek State Prison

Mule Creek State Prison (MCSP) hosted its 11th annual Memorial Golf Tournament at the Castle Oaks Golf Club in Ione, raising over $18,000. This year’s event benefited two staff members, Correctional Officer Joel Cantu and Health Records Technician I Felicia Smith.

Officer Cantu is off work due to a serious medical condition. This medical condition is expected to keep him off work for an extended period of time as he continues with extensive therapy, medical tests and evaluations. Officer Cantu began his career with the CDCR at the Richard A. McGee Correctional Training Center in May 2008 and was assigned to MCSP upon completion of his training.

Smith is currently off work caring for her terminally ill son. She is expected to remain off work for an extended period of time as she continues to care for her son. She began her career with CDCR at the Centinela State Prison in January 2009 and transferred to MCSP in January 2014. On June 1, 2017, she transferred back to Centinela.

The annual golf tournament was started in 2007 to honor the memory of Correctional Officer and U.S. Marine First Sgt. Michael Barnhill, who was killed while on active duty in Iraq in 2005 when his vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device.

Since the first golf tournament in 2007, MCSP nominates an employee in need of assistance because of a traumatic event or illness, and donates the proceeds to the nominee and his family. Each year, the Golf Tournament Volunteer Committee organizes bake sales, barbecues and solicits donations from local businesses and the community.

The success of this year’s tournament is also attributed to the over 150 golf participants, and contributions from individual staff, CCPOA, CCWA, local and out-of-area business sponsors, and the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation.

“Our tournament has shown that it strengthens our work family, enhances employee morale, and most importantly gives us the ability to help our employees and their families,” said Warden Joe Lizarraga.