North Carolina Department of Correction News - July 1999

Memorial service honors former correction officers

STATESVILLE — More than 150 correction employees and friends gathered at a Statesville church May 20 to pay tribute to the families of Correctional Officer Mike Anthony and seven other correction employees who lost their lives in service to the state.

"As we remember the life and the spirit of each of these employees, let us see our own lives dedicated to a higher cause, let their remembrance lift us higher in truth and love. These eight men and women have shown us how to live a fuller life. We feel their presence ever near, as if they are carrying the banner, leading the way," State Correction Secretary Theodis Beck told those gathered at the service. "These eight officers answered the call for public service with the North Carolina Department of Correction when they demonstrated their willingness to help protect the citizens of this state and help improve the lives of North Carolinians. For not much money and for terrible hours, on a daily basis, they put their lives at risk for two simple reasons - to protect and help others." honorguard.jpg (22157 bytes)

Officer Anthony’s wife, children and parents attended the service. Anthony died in October while supervising a medium security road squad. Correctional Officer Michael Starnes of Iredell Correctional Center remembered Anthony as a devoted husband and father, a man of faith active in his community and a correctional officer who was a perfectionist.

"He was the only baseball and softball coach Hannah and Chad ever had. Not only did he participate in things in which Hannah and Chad were involved, he supported every event at their school at North Iredell," Starnes said. "His fellow officers will tell you that he completed every task which he was assigned and did it well."

In honor of Anthony, his wife, Lynn, was presented a U.S. flag, an eighth rose was added to the correction star flower arrangement and his name was added to the plaque honoring the officers.

"These families are now a part of our agency," said Bruce Barrett, a Central Prison Correctional Officer who serves as President of the Correctional Officers’ Chapter of the North Carolina Police Benevolence Association. "Their loved ones will be with us forever and they are now and forever will be a part of our department."

The service closed with the mournful sound of taps and a twenty-one gun salute.

Officers filed out of the church and stood at attention as family members viewed the Roll Call of Honor plaque and left the church parking lot escorted by Iredell police.

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