By Jorge Santana | Captain (A), Calipatria State Prison
The Calipatria State Prison (CSP) Honor Guard was selected to present the colors in Los Angeles Staples Center as the Minnesota Timberwolves visited the Los Angeles Clippers on February 28.  It was a privilege that took a lot of hard work and dedication to make it happen. 

At one time, the CAL Honor Guard had more than 25 members and participated in local, state and national events, but a lack of funding reduce its numbers to eight by 2008.

Last June, CAL Correctional Sergeant Robert Silvas asked if he could revive the CAL Honor Guard to its former glory and began recruiting new members. 

“We can’t let these tough times get us down,” said Silvas. “The main purpose of the Honor Guard is to honor our fallen and to instill pride in our profession and represent CDCR in a positive light.” 

With that in mind Silvas began looking for an opportunity to public showcase with the potential of being viewed nationally. Professional sporting events came to mind, and he began visiting websites of professional teams closest to the prison. 

Silvas asked the various teams how the CAL Honor Guard could present the colors, and the Los Angeles Clippers responded. 

The CAL Honor Guard members – Sergeant Silvas, Sergeant F. Castaneda and Correctional Officers E Valencia, J Manning and J. Alba – did a practice run on the court as the crowd arrived. It was then that they can to understand this was the opportunity of a lifetime. 

The Honor Guard, in their CDCR Class A uniforms, represented CAL and CDCR with pride and dignity.  In the audience were 34 CAL staff members. 

After the playing of the National Anthem, the Honor Guard marched off the court.
“It was then that I let out a big sigh of relief,” Silvas said, “but at the same time I was excited and filled with pride about what we had just accomplished.”

Victor Yee, the Clippers representative, said he had been a pleasure to work with the CAL Honor Guard and a joy to see them present the colors in such a dignified manner.