KVSP’s 10th annual Veterans Day Run honors founders

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

Members of the community joined Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) staff in honoring our veterans by participating in the prison’s 10th annual Veterans Day Run.

Distinguished veterans and members of the community joined in the event along with 60 students from the marching band of Robert F. Kennedy High School who were generous to provide their services.  All gathered around the front of the Administration Building to kick off the event.

Correctional Officer Arturo Vargas and Correctional Sgt. Delbert Wallace, both veterans of the U.S. Marine Corps, were instrumental in starting this tradition in 2008. These men were specifically honored this day as it was their last run as Department employees before retiring in the next few months.

Nearly 30 runners and 20 walkers made the 2.8-mile loop around the institution. Upon completion, the pageantry continued with a reading of the Marine Corps Commandant’s message, singing of the Marine Corps Hymn, and a ceremonial cake cutting which honored Joe Rodriguez, U.S. Marine Corps (ret.), and Stanley Perez, U.S. Army (ret.).

The event officially concluded with Art and Delbert passing on the responsibilities of carrying on the tradition to Officer Brian Kellams and Lt. Darvin Wattree.

Calipatria Veterans Day 2 2018

Veterans saluted at Calipatria

By Lt. Efren Uribe, AA/PIO
Calipatria State Prison

Calipatria State Prison (CAL) staff recently paid tribute to our nation’s veterans, as they hosted the annual Veterans Memorial Ceremony held on Nov. 7.

The event featured guest speakers CSM Joe Derma III, 40th Infantry Division Command Sergeant Major; Danny C. Deaver, Master-at-Arms Chief, (Surface Warfare/Air Warfare) United State Navy; and Federico Garcia, Vietnam veteran.

“First and foremost, let’s begin today by recognizing all those among us who have given themselves in service to our nation,” said Frances Hernandez, Community Resource Manager for CAL. “All your sacrifices and those of your families have helped to keep our country safe and free.”

Alex Justine Pankratz, daughter of an employee at CAL, paid tribute to veterans and service personnel by singing the National Anthem and God Bless America.

“It is very important to me that we recognize and honor the men and women of our Armed Forces for the great sacrifice that they make for our families and their country,” said CAL Warden Warren L. Montgomery.

“The definition of a Veteran, whether active duty, retired, National Guard, or Reserve, is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to the United States of America, for an amount up to and including my life,” Derma said.

Deaver spoke about the sacrifice military personnel endure, without hesitation, to protect this great nation.

Vietnam veteran Garcia remembered the struggles and difficult times he and his fellow military brothers endured during some harsh conditions. Garcia recalled how they enjoyed the smallest things such as peanut butter cookies, made by his little sister, and how every time he has one, it takes him back to that time. Garcia also asked that we remember those who gave all in honor of their country.

By Lt. Martin Herrera, AA/PIO
Wasco State Prison-Reception Center

Wasco State Prison-Reception Center (WSP-RC) Warden John Sutton, Chief Deputy Warden Heather Shirley, and several members of the management team recently attended the Kern County Honor Flight (KCHF) monthly breakfast in Bakersfield to honor and serve the many local military veterans who have proudly served our country.

It was all smiles for those in attendance as the veterans shared their stories and expressed their appreciation to the many WSP staff members who came out to serve breakfast to our veterans that day.

The real excitement came toward the end of the morning when Warden Sutton spoke to the group, thanking them for their service to our great country and presented the KCHF organization with a $12,000 donation.

WSP-RC staff held several volunteer fundraisers throughout the year and organized an inmate food sale. The donation will pay the way for eight military veterans to make the memorable trip to our nation’s capital and see all of the national monuments, a once in a lifetime experience.

“My staff and I look forward to this event every year. It’s a very rewarding experience to come out and serve these men and women who served our country, and an honor to donate to such a worthy cause,” said Warden Sutton.