By Lt. Jennifer Davies, AA/PIO
Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

On June 14, Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (RJDCF) celebrated the work of volunteers with an evening of gratitude. Festivities included an award for the longest running volunteer, socialization and a pizza dinner. The event would not have been possible without the gracious support of USE Credit Union and Shadow Mountain Community Church.

Attendees were guided by yellow and white balloons, a symbol of peace and optimism. Upon the arrival of guests, Community Resource Manager Lance Eshelman thanked everyone for attending. He reinforced the importance of rehabilitation by stating that RJDCF’s inmates may one day become part of our community, even as neighbors.

RJDCF staff proudly served volunteers dinner as thanks for their service. Once everyone was seated, Miguel Enriquez, the longest serving Chaplain at RJDCF, led the group in prayer.

Once stomachs were full, Chief Deputy Warden Patrick Covello began his search for the longest serving volunteer.

“Raise your hand if you have served as a volunteer at RJDCF for five years. Ten? Twenty? Thirty?”  With only one hand remaining in the crowd, everyone began to clap. John Driscoll marked his 30th year as a volunteer at RJDCF.

RJDCF welcomes over 700 volunteers into their facility every year. Volunteers come from all walks of life and host a variety of programs stemming from their deepest passions. Yoga, Project Paint, Jail Guitar Doors, Criminal Gangs Anonymous, and various religious services are some of the programs that are offered to RJDCF inmates.

Individuals like Driscoll have dedicated their time and hearts to providing mentorship to those who need it most. Whether we call them volunteers, facilitators, motivators, teachers, or spiritual guides, we are all family at RJDCF.