By Lt. James Campbell
Avenal State Prison’s (ASP) Honor Guard and staff held a memorial service in front of the prison for Sgt. Daniel Rodriguez, who passed away Aug. 25, 2020.
To honor his memory, ASP staff hosted a celebration of life Sept. 10 for his family and coworkers. The decision to hold the ceremony at the prison was driven by the pandemic in order to keep the honor guard safe.
Warden Rosemary Ndoh invited the Rodriguez family to the institution so coworkers could also pay their respects.
Social distancing was observed, temperatures were taken and COVID-19 screening questions were asked of all persons prior to entering. Additionally, staff were asked not to have physical contact with the family.
Several ASP staff members, as well as Daniel’s family members took turns sharing stories about Daniel. The memories all contained the same descriptions of Daniel by talking about his strong work ethic and kind heart. Everyone who spoke mentioned how inspirational Sgt. Rodriguez had been to them and how much he will be missed.
The ASP Honor Guard conducted the 21-gun salute after which Taps was performed by Lt. J. Mendiboure. Central Control made a heartfelt End of Watch announcement via institutional radio as the Rodriguez family and ASP staff listened. ASP Honor Guard ceremoniously folded an American Flag, presented it to Warden Ndoh, who then presented it to the family.
Rodriguez began his CDCR at ASP in June 2007. He promoted to Correctional Sergeant in July 2013. He was also a Peer Support Program Team Member.
Honor Guard members who attended were Sgt. Jamie Jacquez, Honor Guard Commander; Sgt. Phil Jensen, Honor Guard Assistant Commander; Officer Victor Murillo, Officer Zavier Martinez, Officer Oscar Hernandez, Lt. John Mendiboure, Sgt. Jimmy Allen, Color Guard Team Leader; Officer Rubin Solorio, Lt. Justin Stevens, CCI Joe Guzman, CCI Isiah Crosby, Officer Roger Kaalekahi, Officer Elena Guzman, and Sgt. Javier Aguilera.