Awards and Appreciation, Beyond the Badge

CDCR, CCHCS staff salute veterans

Across California, CDCR and CCHCS institutions thanked veterans for their service. Many veterans continue their service through employment with the department.

MCSP Honor Guard march in Capitol Veterans Day Parade

The Mule Creek State Prison Honor guard was requested to participate in the annual Sacramento Veterans Day Parade at the State Capitol on Nov. 11. The prison’s recruitment team were also invited, staffing an information booth for those interested in joining CDCR.

“We would like to recognize and thank the MCSP Honor Guard and Recruitment Team for continuing to show support and representing the Department and Mule Creek at the highest level,” according to a statement issued by MCSP. “Thank you to all veterans for your service.”

Submitted by Lt. Beau Campbell, AA/PIO

CTF Veterans Day observed at Veterans Hub

The Correctional Training Facility (CTF) marked Veterans Day with a celebration at the Veterans Hub on Nov. 10. The event, filled with music, guest speakers, and tributes, honored the sacrifices and services of veterans within and beyond the CTF community.

The ceremony began with a welcoming statement from the Veterans Hub liaison followed by the singing of the national anthem.

Distinguished guests and speakers shared stories and insights highlighting the importance of honoring our veterans. Among them was CTF’s acting Warden, Edward J. Borla, a United States Air Force veteran.

“I urge you to remember that the spirit of Veterans Day extends to all who have worn the uniform of our nation,” said Borla. “Let us never forget our incarcerated veterans and their potential for positive change.”

Jennie Nestler, from the Veterans Transition Center (VTC) of Marina, spoke about the ongoing efforts to assist veterans in transitioning back into civilian life.

The “Red Beans and Rice” band as well as a lineup of comedians also performed, offering a blend of light-hearted entertainment.

The event culminated in a banquet-style lunch, allowing attendees to mingle and share their experiences in a more informal setting. This provided a unique opportunity for CTF staff, veterans, the incarcerated population and guests to connect and celebrate Veterans Day.

Submitted by Lt. Wil Landrum, AA/PIO

SATF honors veterans with food, flags, gratitude

On Nov. 8, the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility (SAFT) honored veterans with a barbecue, custom pin, flag presentation by the honor guard, and speeches.

Throughout the week, as staff entered the front entrance, flags from all branches of the US Armed Forces were flown along with a banner thanking veterans for the service.

Warden Bryan Phillips, Chief Deputy Warden Raul Morales, and SATF Employee Activities Committee wanted to do something special to thank all of those who served.

SATF, just like all other CDCR Institutions, employs numerous veterans from each of the military branches.

All staff were encouraged to wear red undershirts in celebration of those who have served and those currently serving.

All staff veterans were encouraged to wear a hat identifying their military branch of service.

Warden Phillips, acting Associate Warden Allen Iversen (USMC Veteran) and Capt. Eric Smith (US Navy) spoke about duty, service, honor, and gratitude for veterans who served their country.

Feedback from some of the SATF veterans included:

  • “I wanted to say that today’s celebration was really good and really moving. Probably one of the better ones I have attended whether within or outside of CDCR. Thank you. I really appreciate all that you guys did today. It meant a lot to me.”
  • “I want to thank you for yesterday’s ceremony. As a cold war veteran, I have never experienced some of the stuff that our brave warriors have lived through and still live through. Having SATF give us recognition for our service yesterday really made me proud to be a veteran and get noticed in such a beautiful way. Your team went above and beyond the call of duty to recognize us. The speeches were amazing, the videos were touching, and the food and serving us was really cool. I am looking forward to next year’s ceremony.”

Submitted by Lt. Brent Urban, AA/PIO

ASP hosts annual walk for Veterans Day

In a heartwarming display of patriotism, Avenal State Prison’s annual Walk/Jog/Run and Marine Corps cake-cutting ceremony continues to thrive.

This meaningful Marine Corps cake-cutting tradition, initiated by retired Correctional Sgt. Michael Mendoza, a Marine Corps veteran, has now spanned six years. Lt. Jaime Jacquez, a US Army veteran, further enriched the tradition with the introduction of the Walk/Jog/Run event in 2021.

During the two-mile run, representatives from all branches of the armed forces unite to run around the institution, embodying the strength and unity of our military heroes. Those who couldn’t participate in the run turned out in full force, showing their support.

Following the Walk/Jog/Run, the entire staff congregated in front of the Administration building. ASP’s Honor Guard presented the flags and the Coalinga High School Band performed the Star-Spangled Banner. They also performed melodies representing each branch of the military, culminating in a moving rendition of the Armed Forces Medley.

Former veterans shared their wisdom and experiences.

The words of Lt. Jacquez and Sgt. R. Cortez focused on the spirit of service and dedication.

Finally, Correctional Sgt. and former Marine Rudolph Cortez added the crowning touch with the cake-cutting ceremony, featuring a Marine Corps non-commissioned officer’s sword.

“This day is a living testament to the courage, sacrifice, and unity that define our great nation, reminding us that together, we are stronger and more patriotic than ever,” said Lt. J. Jacquez.

By Lt. Jose Reyes, AA/PIO

CDCR, CCHCS salutes staff veterans

Watch a video presentation of staff who have served, or are still serving, in the military: