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May 10, 2001

Governor Recognizes Corrections Officer Of The Year
Memorial dedicated to deceased corrections officers

SPRINGFIELD -- Governor George H. Ryan today recognized Correctional Officer Felicia Austin (Danville), who was named Corrections Officer of the Year. The recognition comes during Correctional Officer Week in Illinois--May 6 through May 10.

Illinois Department of Corrections Director Donald N. Snyder Jr, made the announcement while officiating over ceremonies dedicating the Illinois Correctional Employees' Memorial Wall at Corrections Headquarters in Springfield. The wall honors Corrections employees who have died in the line of duty.

"Officer Austin and all Corrections Officers do a fine job every day in a very tough environment," Governor Ryan said. "In their duties, they put their lives on the line for our safety and we should honor and recognize their efforts.

"We also should take time to remember those officers who have lost their lives during the performance of their duties."

Funding for the memorial wall was realized through employee contributions solicited through the Illinois Correctional Employees' Memorial Association, a not-for-profit group of corrections employees and retirees. After paying for the memorial wall, the association intends to create a college scholarship fund.

"We need a permanent reminder of the more than two dozen Illinois Department of Corrections employees who have given the ultimate sacrifice, their lives. This memorial wall honors these employees and their families, some of whom attended the dedication ceremonies," Snyder said.

Correctional Officer Austin received the recognition because of her ability to communicate well with her peers, inmates and visitors. She also has demonstrated outstanding comprehension for the policies, procedures and regulations of the agency. She displays her versatility as an integral part of the 3-11 shift working in housing units, towers and the armory as well as the outer perimeter patrol and is always eager to learn new procedures and techniques.

Correctional Officer Austin resides in Georgetown and has been employed at the Danville prison since February 1998. She is a member of the prison tactical unit and audit team. She earned an athletic scholarship to Lincoln College to play both softball and basketball. She earned a second scholarship to Morehead State University in Kentucky where she was a member of the softball team as well as the dean's list. She earned a bachelor's degree in sociology, with emphasis in corrections, from Morehead State in 1997.

In Kentucky, she was involved with Habitat for Humanity and an organization that assisted low-income families with the necessities of life.

Other correctional officers of the year candidates and the facilities they represent were:

  • Big Muddy River, Correctional Officer (CO) Tony Stoner;

  • Centralia, Sgt. Rodney Lohman;

  • Decatur, CO Robin Kirchoff;

  • Dixon, CO Steve Kraft;

  • Dwight, CO Roy Leonard;

  • East Moline, CO Michael Lydon;

  • Graham, CO Andrew K. Ott;

  • Hill, CO Donald Willhardt;

  • Illinois River, CO John Thompson;

  • Hanna City Work Camp, CO Brian Batton;

  • Jacksonville, CO Bradley Baker;

  • Joliet, CO Rogelio Nelson;

  • Lincoln, CO Ron Merold,
    CO Lynn Seiss;

  • Logan, CO Patrick Fitzsimmons;

  • Menard, Sgt. Kevin Hirsch;

  • Pinckneyville, CO William Lawless;

  • Pontiac, CO John Araujo;

  • Robinson, CO James Gray;

  • Shawnee, CO Keith Collier;

  • Sheridan, Sgt. Wade Seaborn;

  • Southwestern, CO James Little;

  • Stateville, CO Carl Thigpen;

  • Tamms, CO Daniel Monti;

  • Taylorville, CO Larry Asmussen;

  • Vandalia, CO Larry Vaughn;

  • Vienna, CO Brad Duckworth;

  • Western, CO William Twaddle;

  • Illinois Youth Center (IYC) Chicago, Youth Supervisor (YS) Hector Delapaz;

  • IYC-Harrisburg, YS Frederick Logeman;

  • IYC-Joliet, YS Michelle Jackson;

  • IYC-Murphysboro, YS Gerald Hysom;

  • IYC-Pere Marquette, YS Mark Graham;

  • IYC-St. Charles, YS Robin Jones;

  • IYC-Valley View, YS Dennis Langon;

  • IYC-Warrenville, YS Christina Dalrymple


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