By Lt. Moises Soria, AA/PIO
Chuckawalla Valley State Prison
On Oct. 19, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison (CVSP) celebrated its 30-year anniversary. CVSP staff along with Ironwood State Prison staff, Blythe Chief of Police, Blythe City Manager, the Mayor of Blythe, and numerous members of the community were present to celebrate.
Also in attendance was former Warden John Salazar, who was the Warden at CVSP in 2008 and had a time capsule sealed with the intention that it would be opened on the 30-year celebration.
Warden Charles W. Callahan invited Salazar on to the stage where he opened the contents of a box that was placed in the time capsule. In the capsule, along with many items, was a letter written by then Warden Salazar to the future Warden of 2018 (Charles W. Callahan). Warden Callahan read the letter to the crowd as memories of the past surfaced with cheers, laughter, and celebration. During the celebration, there were four staff members that were honored with a plaque for being the only remaining original staff since the activation of CVSP in 1988. They are Fred Velez (Chief Engineer), Chris Wade (Staff Services Manager I), Maria Garnica (Correctional Counselor I) and Eriverto Rodriguez (Correctional Sergeant).
One of the original members (Fred Velez) was not present, however, his daughter Stephanie, who also works at CVSP, gratefully accepted the plaque on her father’s behalf.
Warden Callahan recognized the memory of Associate Warden Rosa Saldana with the unveiling of a dedication bench that will be placed at CVSP. AW Saldana passed away earlier this year, and had she been with us on this day, she would have been the fifth staff member celebrating 30 years as well. Refreshments were provided by the CVSP Employee’s Association.
Lunch was catered by La Paloma as staff shared stories of the past. The common theme shared by both Salazar and Callahan, was that the reason CVSP is a great institution, is because of its staff.