Several Lifesaver and Distinguished Service Awards were given to WERDCC staff during a ceremony held on Tuesday, May 26.
After briefly telling a crowd about each of eight officers and a supervisor near the beginning of the ceremony, WERDCC Warden Angela Mesmer shared details of a December day in which WERDCC staff worked to save a life of an offender.
On December 10, 2014, COII Phillip Leonard was notified by offenders from Housing Unit 2 (C-Wing) that an offender was attempting suicide in the shower stall by cutting her arm with a razor blade.
When COII Leonard arrived, he directed the offender to hand over the razor but the offender refused. The offender swung the razor blade in an attempt to cut the corrections officer. At this time, COII Leonard called for assistance while maintaining contact with the offender. COIII Nancy Pagett and Corrections Supervisor I Rickie Painter assisted in the effort to get the offender to relinquish the razor blade.
CSI Painter was cut by the offender in the swinging of the blade.
The three staff members were able to gain control of the offender and they applied wrist restraints.
As the offender was escorted by COI Gene Traynor, COI Jeffrey Kaiser, and COI JoAnn Myers, the offender lunged forward towards the upstairs railing. Fortunately, staff members were able to stop the offender and pulled her back to safety.
COI Shirley Allen, COI Terry Webb, and COI John Dominguez were said to also have played instrumental roles in keeping safety and security in tact.
The three officers made sure all other offenders returned to their cells, directed nursing staff to incident, maintained control of the area, and showed “exemplary” teamwork efforts in assisting others when necessary.
Mesmer said the offender had two suicide attempts that day and it was scary for all of those involved.
“It is really my pleasure to be here to assist Warden Mesmer in congratulating you and honoring you with this award,” said former WERDCC Warden and current Deputy Division Director Cynthia Prudden.
Prudden pinned on some of the Lifesaver pins. Each officer also received a framed certificate.
COI Allen, COI Webb, and COI Dominguez each received Distinguished Service Awards.
The colors were presented and retired by the WERDCC Honor Guard.