North Carolina


Jim Hunt, Governor Theodis Beck, Secretary

Tracy Little, Acting Director of Public Information (919) 733-4926


December 14, 1999

 Johnston Correctional Sergeant Named Employee of Year

RALEIGH – A correctional sergeant who risked his own life to aid a neighbor and her child has been recognized for his efforts by being named the Department of Correction’s 1999 Employee of the Year.

Sgt. Ricky Ward of Johnston Correctional Institution was presented the award by Correction Secretary Theodis Beck during a ceremony held Dec. 9 in Raleigh. Ward’s nomination for the award was based, in part, on his actions of Nov. 24, 1998.

On that date, Sgt. Ward came to the rescue of a neighbor and her son who had been beaten by a man who had come into their house. Alerted to the situation by another individual, Sgt. Ward went to the neighbor’s house, subdued the intruder, handcuffed him and waited until the sheriff’s department arrived. "Sergeant Ward’s neighbor and her son suffered serious head injuries from their assault, but their condition could have been much worse without his assistance," Secretary Beck said in making the presentation. The intruder is now serving a 20-year sentence for felony assault.

Sgt. Ward was also cited for his work at Johnston Correctional, where he supervises more than two dozen correctional officers on a daily basis. Sgt. Ward has been employed with the Department of Correction since November 1989.

A total of 18 employees were recognized as nominees for the award. "Throughout my years with this Department I have always been impressed by the talent and dedication of our employees," Secretary Beck said. "These employees represent the best of this department and they are truly deserving of this recognition."

The remaining 17 nominees are: Barton Cook, Samuel Poston and Dean Walker, all of Marion Correctional Institution; Bobbie G. Cox of the Division of Prisons Western Region Office; Harry Davis of Morrison Youth Institution; Donna Donaldson, a probation/parole officer in the 22nd Judicial District; Cynthia Hester, Linda Owens and Edwin Simpson, all of Pender Correctional Institution; William E. Horton and Ann Harper, both of Central Prison; Clyde Morris of Caswell Correctional Center; Roosevelt Askew II of Pasquotank Correctional Institution; William Caterson of Avery/Mitchell Correction Institution and of Marion Correctional Institution at the time of his nomination; Shirley Davis, a chief probation/parole officer in the 26th Judicial District; Julia Martin, an intensive probation/parole officer in Judicial District 16B; and Jane Young, director of educational services and superintendent of schools with the Division of Prisons.

In addition to the Employee of the Year nominees, another Correction employee was recognized with an Award for Effective Leadership. Guilford Leggett, special assistant to the secretary, received the award for his contributions to the 1998 State Employees Combined Campaign.