Awards and Appreciation, Obituaries, Rehabilitation

Bench honors memory of CTF welding instructor

Correctional Training Facility’s (CTF) Welding shop built a bench in tribute to Clayton Dynes, the former welding instructor at CTF.

Dynes passed in September 2022. He began his journey with CDCR in March 1989 at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi. He dedicated 33 years to teaching welding in various institutions. From Salinas Valley State Prison to California Men’s Colony, Avenal State Prison, Mule Creek, and finally CTF in 2019.

At CTF, he often mentioned the absence of a bench outside the welding shop, hinting at a collective project that was never realized during his tenure. His clerks and teacher’s aids sought to commemorate his profession with a handcrafted bench for the welding shop. The group received approval and encouragement from the Vice Principal of the Vocational Program, David Mena. Each of Dynes’ teacher’s aides contributed by welding a part of the bench, making it a true team effort.

Vocational carpentry instructor Stephen Padilla and students fashioned the bench seat from reclaimed redwood from the Facility A Yard.

Dynes was for the students

“This unique piece of craftsmanship is not just any bench; it captures the very essence of Mr. Dynes. From his distinct signature, the iconic Chevy bow tie he loved, gear-themed sides, to the hot rod flames, and his unforgettable motto about weld profiles – “Dime Wide, Nickel High” – the bench is a true reflection of his character,” said David Mena, Vice Principal.

Respected by inmates and staff alike, Dynes treated every student as a fellow welder and equal. He instilled prosocial values and emphasized a strong work ethic. With his family-first approach, he sought to equip students with a tangible skillset, ensuring they could reintegrate into society with pride. Many benefited from his efforts to secure them welding jobs upon their release.

“Having the opportunity to design and fabricate the bench as a monument in remembrance for Mr. Dynes allowed me to honor him as a pillar in our community, and the welding society. The hours I spent working on it were cathartic and helped me process the loss of a man that was larger than life itself,” said Michael Panella, Dynes’ longtime clerk.

Story submitted by Lt. Wil Landrum, AA/PIO
Correctional Training Facility

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