SCC inmates hit home run with exhibition game

By Dameion Renault, Community Resources Manager
Sierra Conservation Center

More than 160 inmates from the Sierra Conservation Center (SCC) banded together, an idea in its infancy almost one year ago, to provide an Olympic-style event to the community in which they reside.

One year ago graduates of New Professionals, a career development program for inmates at SCC, authored a proposal as a final project at the end of the 10-month program. The proposal was to partner with the local Special Olympics team, Tuolumne Ravens, in a first-of-its-kind exhibition, Olympic Soft Ball game where vetted inmates competed against Special Olympics athletes.

During an all-day event, spectators, made of family and friends of the athletes, volunteers, and SCC staff witnessed an opening ceremony that included the Veterans Incarcerated color guard, National Anthem, “parade of nations” (rehabilitative programs with banners created by Prison Industry Authority), ceremonial lighting of the torch (made by inmates in the carpentry vocational program), first pitch by the Warden, and introductions of the SCC and Special Olympics athletes. The entire process was supported by Warden Joel Martinez.

Game one began with some hearty hits by the Special Olympics that helped them to overwhelm the SCC inmates by a score of 19-3. After game one, a large ceremonial check, painted by an inmate in the Arts in Corrections program, was given to Special Olympics Area Director Dave DeCheney commemorating the $1,691 raised by inmates, Inmate Family Council, Rabobank, Black Oak Casino and SCC staff.

Game two saw a new SCC team, as they kept up with the Special Olympics athletes enough to win by a score of 10-9.

Game two marked the lunch break, only to have both SCC and Special Olympics athletes come back swinging for the fences, literally. Both teams scored well, but it was the Special Olympics athletes coming out on top with a score of 16-6.

Closing ceremonies included many photo opportunities, such as the medal-awards ceremony in which SCC athletes placed a medal (made by inmates in the welding vocational program) on each of the Special Olympians and their coaches.

Organizers thanked Warden Joel Martinez, Dave DeCheney (Tuolumne Ravens), Judy Burton-Andrews (Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada), Rebecca Thompson (Special Olympics Northern California & Nevada), Rabobank, Black Oak Casino, SCC Inmate Family Council, the many SCC staff providing support, and the numerous others that helped to make this happen.

Calipatria Warden Warren L. Montgomery presented a check to Special Olympics. The funds were raised by inmates.

Calipatria SP inmates raise $12,349 for Imperial Valley Special Olympics

By Lt. Everardo Silva, AA/PIO
Calipatria State Prison

Special Olympics received a financial boost thanks to inmates at Calipatria State Prison.

Imperial Valley Special Olympics Area Director Patricia G. Urena, along with some local athletes, received a check June 13 from Calipatria Warden Warren L. Montgomery.

“Special Olympics provide a year round program of sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities,” said Urena. “So we are very grateful to the inmates and staff at Calipatria State Prison for making this donation possible.”

Community Resources Manager Claudia Saldana said with inmate participation, they were able to raise $12,349.

“I spoke to CAL’s self-help Sponsors about organizing a fundraiser for our local Special Olympics. Two self-help sponsors, Mary Sosa Rodriguez and Sarah Mata, organized the event,” said Claudia Saldana, Community Resource Manager. “Inmate Leisure Time Activity Group Bridges to Freedom participated in a fundraiser with Rally’s Burgers and were very successful. Inmates from CAL were able to participate, resulting in a very generous donation.”

More than 100 took part in the DVI-to-Tracy leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run.

DVI carries torch to Tracy Police Department

By Lt. Christene Zoucha, AA/PIO
Deuel Vocational Institution

From left, DVI Correctional Officer Amelia Esquivel, Tracy PD’s Dan Paquale and Modesto Police Detective Sean Dodge.

On June 20, Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI) Warden Kimberly A. Seibel and Chief Deputy Warden K. Kestersonn received the torch from the Ripon Police Department. Runners then carried the torch to Tracy.

This year, DVI Correctional Officer Amelia Esquivel, Tracy Police Officer Dan Paquale and Modesto Police Detective Sean Dodge ran the 5.5-mile leg of the LETR in full gear.

Three Tracy PD motor units led the procession from DVI to Tracy. The motor units escorted the participants through the roads of rural Tracy, over two major overpasses on the route.

DAI Reception Center Mission Associate Director Brian Duffy, Warden Seibel, the Chief Deputy Warden and over 100 participant (runners and bicyclists) from DVI, Correctional Health Care Facility (CHCF), Mule Creek State Prison, Northern Transportation Unit, Crisis Response Team members from DVI and CHCF, and Run Fit, a local running club from Modesto, traveled from DVI to the Tracy Police Department.

DVI raised $10,149.00 for the 2017 Law Enforcement Torch Run.

In 2018, DVI will be tackling a new challenge and will join the  Tracy Police Department in carrying the torch from Tracy through 30 miles of back roads of Alameda County to Livermore.

KVSP Lt. Mike Phillips, left, and Self-Help Sponsor Salvador Hernandez, right, presented a $13,500 check to Davida Murphy, Regional Director, Special Olympics Kern County.

Kern Valley State Prison food sale raises money for Special Olympics

By Lt. Michael Betzinger, AA/PIO
Kern Valley State Prison

On June 24, Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) hosted a food sale for the inmate population, raising $13,500 for Special Olympics.

Numerous KVSP staff members pitched in on the big day to help with the food distribution. During the check presentation ceremony on June 30, the overjoyed Special Olympics Kern County Regional Director Davida Murphy told KVSP staff the money would fund the participation of 688 local athletes.

On hand to present the check was KVSP’s Special Olympics Law Enforcement Liaison Lt. Mike Phillips, who has spearheaded numerous fundraising campaigns.  KVSP staff said they were honored and privileged to be partnered with the Special Olympics in this way and look forward to the continued work of making a difference in the lives of these inspirational athletes.

CTF and Salinas Valley State Prison joined other law enforcement agencies for the torch run in Monterey County.

By Lt. Roland Ramon, AA/PIO
Correctional Training Facility

The Correctional Training Facility (CTF) partnered with Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) and other Monterey County law enforcement agencies in support of Special Olympics promoting public awareness and fundraising efforts.

The Torch Run this year in Monterey County started in the Salinas downtown area and finished near the Taylor Farms offices.  The supporting agencies included the Salinas Police Department, Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, parole, county probation and the Highway Patrol.