PA Department of Corrections Honors Volunteers for State Prison Work

Oct 25, 2010, 10:57 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

ELIZABETHTOWN, Pa., Oct. 25 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Corrections recognized the contributions of 31 volunteers during the agency's annual banquet on Saturday, Oct. 23, for those who give their time and talents to help meet prison inmates' educational, health and spiritual needs.

"Volunteers provide valuable services to our inmates; services that the department otherwise would not be able to provide," said acting Corrections Secretary Shirley Moore Smeal. "Through their interaction, they help inmates better relate to society and experience personal growth and positive change. We believe it is important to honor these individuals annually for the contributions they make to our inmates."

Smeal served as keynote speaker at this year's banquet, held at the department's Elizabethtown Training Academy. She spoke about how volunteers serve as role models for inmates and offer incarcerated individuals guidance and hope.

The 31 volunteers honored at this year's banquet were:

  • Pamula McAraw, who has provided Catholic services to inmates at the State Correctional Institution at Albion, Erie County, for the past 14 years.
  • Rev. Jeanette Myers, a volunteer since 2003, provides religious services to inmates at SCI Cambridge Springs, Crawford County.
  • Rev. Dr. Charles "Buz" Myers, a volunteer at SCI Camp Hill, Cumberland County, since 2008, leads weekly Bible studies for inmates.
  • William and Patricia Smith, who lead the "Walking Your Faith" program at SCI Chester, Delaware County.
  • Jeremias Cardona, has volunteered at SCI Coal Township, Northumberland County, with Hope Prison Ministry since 1994.
  • Deacon Richard Beatty leads Bible study for inmates at SCI Cresson, Cambria County.
  • Norma Zurner, for the past 15 years, has volunteered at SCI Dallas with Prison Christian Growth Group – a Catholic ministry based in Harrisburg.
  • Simeon Hatcher has ministered to inmates at SCI Fayette, Fayette County, for the past six years.
  • John and Delores Baxter have led Bible studies at SCI Forest, Forest County, since 2006.
  • Bruce W. Adams leads Bible studies for inmates at SCI Frackville, Schuylkill County.
  • Byron and Harriet Klein, for the past 20 years, have coordinated activities for the Jewish congregation at SCI Graterford, Montgomery County.
  • John Spardo, who leads Narcotics Anonymous groups for inmates, began volunteering at SCI Greene, Greene County, in 2008.
  • George W. Wigfield has led the Prison Outreach Program at SCI Greensburg, Westmoreland County, since the early 1980s.
  • Sylvia Jean Yarger has been a Yoke fellowship Ministry and "Walking Your Faith" volunteer at SCI Houtzdale, Clearfield County, since 1998.
  • Frank Raphael Thompson, for the past 33 years, has led Cursillo-related events for inmates at SCI Huntingdon, Huntingdon County.
  • Sharon Fox has led Bible studies at SCI Laurel Highlands, Somerset County, since 2005.
  • Gloria Upanavage has led the rosary group at SCI Mahanoy, Schuylkill County, since 2008.
  • Randall Dufford has led recovery meetings at SCI Mercer, Mercer County, since 2002.
  • Alesha Love-LaForme has led grief counseling groups for inmates at SCI Muncy, Lycoming County, for two years.
  • George Hinson, since 2001, directs the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults program at SCI Pine Grove, Indiana County.
  • Madeleine Amman, leads recovery meetings at SCI Pittsburgh, Allegheny County.
  • Rebecca Brown, since 2006, leads Bible study groups for inmates at the Quehanna Boot Camp, Clearfield County.
  • John Douglas Glawe, since 2004, has led Bible studies at SCI Retreat, Luzerne County.
  • Monsignor James W. Peterson, since 1951, has traveled to SCI Rockview, Centre County, annually to minister to inmates.
  • Minister Herman Burks, since 2000, has been ministering in word and song to inmates at SCI Smithfield, Huntingdon County.  
  • Doris Lambert leads a grief and loss group for inmates at SCI Somerset, Somerset County.
  • Rev. Alvin Rios has ministered to Spanish-speaking inmates at SCI Waymart, Wayne County, for the last four years.
  • James B. (last name withheld at his request) leads the 12-Step program for residents at the Wernersville Community Corrections Center.

Volunteers were presented with an attache bag and a framed letter signed by Governor Edward G. Rendell and acting Secretary Smeal.

Media contact: Susan McNaughton, 717-975-4879

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Corrections