Awards and Appreciation

CMC project remembers staff who have died

A wall with small name plaques and the words "CMC Memorial Wall" across the top.
The Memorial Wall at California Men's Colony holds the names of more than 150 employees who have passed away.

Memorial wall is tribute to the past

By Lt. John Hill
California Men’s Colony

While he was teaching a Suicide Prevention class at the California Men’s Colony (CMC), Correctional Counselor Corey Tomasini passed around some paper and asked everyone to write down the name of any CMC staff member who had died. As the paper was being passed, he repeatedly heard the phrase, “Oh yeah, I forgot about…”

CMC did not have a memorial dedicated to the staff members who have passed away and decided that had to change.

Counselor Tomasini brought this to the attention of Warden J. Gastelo, Chief Deputy Warden D. Samuel and retired CMC Correctional Officer Henry Andrews. The only questions asked by the Warden were, “When can we get started and how long will it take?”

Thanks to the generosity of organizations, private donors and countless volunteer hours of planning and construction, the CMC Memorial Wall became a reality.

Counselor Tomasini hopes word of the memorial will spread, and every CDCR institution and agency will create their own memorials dedicated to the memory of others. The Memorial Wall ensures their names and lasting memories will never be forgotten.

“(CDCR) keeps moving and doesn’t stop. It keeps moving on. We just become too busy to stop, remember and honor,” said Counselor Tomasini.

The wall is in CMC East Facility Administration next to the main staff entrance, reminding all passersby of those who have gone on before us.

The wall contains the names of 152 former CMC staff members who will never be forgotten thanks to Counselor Tomasini, Officer Andrews, Maintenance Mechanic Michael Dawson, and Supervisor of Building Trades Ian Johnston.

A plaque reads May We Never Forget.
The Memorial Wall at CMC.