Olympic Corrections Center staff members gathered Wednesday, May 29, to celebrate their collective and individual accomplishments in 2012. They were joined by a number of invited guests, including several who retired after serving at the center.
The event is each year held in May, which is officially Corrections Pride Month within the Department of Corrections.
OCC Superintendent John Aldana described some of those accomplishments, including the highest Safety Audit score in the state.
Aldana also mentioned the success of the facility’s horticulture program and education department and spoke about the dozens of community service projects the center’s staff participated in.
He also spoke with pride about the role the OCC staff played in fighting a number of area forest fires, including two of the largest in the West End’s history.
The get-together also served as the venue for the delivery of the various agency awards. Among those honored were Sgt. James O’Hara and correctional officers Ron Howell, Scott DePew and Jim Spaulding, who were all cited for their community service work.
Spaulding also was recognized for 30 years of service to the center.
Mike Henry, who runs the facility’s wastewater treatment plant, received his sixth straight award from the Washington Department of Ecology for Wastewater Treatment Plant Outstanding Performance.
Top of the list
Lori Lawson and Don Cross picked up the biggest awards of the day.
Lawson was named Employee of the Year for 2012. Lawson, an employee at OCC since 1996, currently serves as a corrections specialist, with duties that include serving as training manager and grievance coordinator.
Aldana called her “a resourceful and knowledgeable employee that causes other to gravitate toward her. She demonstrates a calm attitude and a high level of professionalism, no matter the activity or the hour of day.”
Lawson recently was selected to be a member on the Department of Corrections Statewide Incident Management Team, which means at any given moment she could be assigned to a major emergency incident anywhere in the state.
Officer of the Year Don Cross began his career at Olympic Corrections Center in January 2001.
Aldana described him as “a self-motivated person whose ethics are of the highest standards. Don’s consistent interaction with offenders is routinely firm, fair and consistent. He continually exceeds the basic requirements of a correctional officer.”
Cross is assigned to the Ozette living unit which manages the therapeutic community as well as the secured housing unit.
On June 7, Aldana will accompany Officer Don Cross to the Department of Corrections Annual Agency awards ceremony in Olympia, where he will be honored with his peers.