EDMOND – Today, employees and volunteers with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections were recognized at the agency’s annual awards ceremony at the Edmond Fire Training Center.
Corrections staff and volunteer organizations that mentor and provide services to inmates from across the state attended the event.
Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh commended the department’s more than 4,000 employees, thanking them for their service to protecting the citizens of the state. He also thanked the agency’s volunteer organizations that provide over 1,400 programs and activities, which are critical resources the department otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.
“The role this agency has in public safety is vital to keeping Oklahomans safe,” Allbaugh said. “Without great employees at facilities, in the field, conducting investigations and supervising individuals who have discharged but are still in our custody, we would not be able to uphold the mission of public safety.
“Additionally, our volunteers are critical in helping rehabilitate and mentor inmates. You provide services we otherwise would not be able to offer.”
The keynote speaker for the event was Secretary of the Oklahoma Department of Veteran’s Affairs retired Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon. She congratulated the award winners and spoke on the service and sacrifice employees of the department make.
“As corrections employees, you have a difficult task ahead of you every day,” Aragon said. “It is up to you to keep the public safe and make sure the men and women in custody are taken care of, even if they are not the best-behaved individuals.
“You do it with compassion, care and loyalty for your fellow Oklahomans. For that, each and every one of you should be applauded.”
Agent Tamika Ross with the DOC Office of the Inspector General received the employee of the year award.
Ross, of Tulsa, said she was humbled by the recognition and honored to work with such a great team.
“I am thankful to be in a position to make a difference in the lives of Oklahomans,” Ross said. “I am also very fortunate to have the support of my fellow agents, who I can count on at any time of day or night.”
Other awards and recognitions
Medal of Valor: Corrections Officer Jason Lemons, Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center.
Meritorious Service: Correctional Officers James Allman and Tim McMullen, Joseph Harp Correctional Center.
Correctional Officer of the Year: John Nichols, Dick Conner Correctional Center.
Correctional Officer Supervisor of the Year: Roy Weaver, Jess Dunn Correctional Center.
Volunteer of the Year: Dr. Chuck Gassaway.
Volunteer Organization of the Year: Operation Hope.
Teacher of the Year: David Rogers, Mack Alford Correctional Center.
Nurse of the Year: Cindy Kincaid, Jim E. Hamilton Correctional Center.
Probation and Parole Officer of the Year: Susie Barnes, Jeffery McCoy, Oklahoma City.
Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh and Maj. Gen. Rita Aragon
pose with honorees at the annual DOC employee awards ceremony.
Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh presents the Medal of Valor to
Corrections Officer Jason Lemons from the Northeast Oklahoma Correctional Center.