N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--March 1998

Winter Storms Put Western Officers to Work

First came the floods and then the snow. Through it all, dedicated correction officers in the western part of the state gladly pitched in, putting in extra hours to help communities hardest hit by January’s storms.

Correction officers from minimum security units in the western part of the state and correction officers from Blue Ridge Youth Center assigned to the Young Offenders Forest Conservation Program (BRIDGE) were first called into action the week of Jan. 12 after flash floods led Gov. Jim Hunt to declare a state of emergency in four western North Carolina counties.

Correction officers and state forestry officers working with the BRIDGE program supervised and assisted inmates as they hiked food, water and fuel into areas where roads had been wiped out and built foot bridges to help residents get in and out of their homes.

At the same time, officers from several minimum security units were busy assisting work crews clean mud and other debris from streets, public buildings, equipment and creek banks.

Before all the damage from the flood could be cleared, a major snow storm buried the western part of the state under several feet of snow the week of Jan. 26. Once again, correction officers and inmates were called in to help their neighbors.

In all, officers from at least 14 prisons helped during this latest storm, working overtime, weekends and scheduled days off, often driving several hours to communities hardest hit by the storm.

Catawba Correctional Center correctional officer James Greer

William Anderson, superintendent of Henderson Correctional Center, said his officers were willing to do anything they could to help out. "There was such a feeling of esprit de corps - everyone worked together to get the job done," he said. "It was nothing for the officers to work 11- and 12-hour days."

Officers from the western units removed snow from sidewalks and parking areas, used chain saws to remove downed trees from the roadways and assisted emergency management officials and community volunteers.

Boyce Lambert, superintendent of Catawba Correctional Institution, said several officers worked an entire weekend digging out fire hydrants. "Our officers helped dig out 150 fire hydrants," he said. "The officers not only supervised the inmate work crews, they also did their share of the work."

Correction Secretary Mack Jarvis said the officers are to be commended for their hard work. "These men did a great job helping communities survive these winter storms," he said. "They accomplished a lot and endured a lot in getting the job done." u

NC DOC Correction News- March 1998
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