Volunteers Honored for Pennsylvania State Prison Work
Volunteers who tend to prison inmates' educational, health and spiritual needs earned recognition from the Department of Corrections at its annual statewide volunteer recognition banquet.
"Each year we honor one volunteer from each facility," said Corrections Secretary Jeffrey A. Beard. "These individuals provide valuable services to inmates, services that the department otherwise does not have the resources to provide. It is only fitting that these exceptional people be recognized for their commitment to state prison inmates."
Keynote speaker at this year's banquet, held at the department's Elizabethtown Training Academy, was DOC Deputy Secretary for Re-entry and Specialized Programs Kathleen Gnall, who spoke about how volunteers serve as role models for inmates.
"Inmates learn a lot from volunteers," Gnall said. "In addition to providing inmates with recovery, religious and support services, the volunteers, without knowing it, also teach inmates the proper way to behave. Through their kind and generous natures, the volunteers model pro-social behavior, and observing them is another way in which inmates learn to change their behaviors for the better."
The 29 volunteers honored at this year's banquet were:
-- Janet DeCecco, who has provided Catholic services to inmates at SCI Albion, Erie County, for the past five years.
-- John C. Anwyll, a volunteer since 1995, leads Bible studies at SCI Camp Hill, Cumberland County.
-- Judith Smock, a volunteer at SCI Cambridge Springs, Crawford County, since 2003, participates in a variety of religious programs at the
-- Rev. Dr. Mary Floyd Palmer, a former police officer, has taught weekly Bible class at SCI Chester, Delaware County, since 1998.
-- Garland F. Hunter Jr., has volunteered at SCI Coal Township, Northumberland County, with Yokefellowship Prison Ministry for the past
-- Deacon John Walker has coordinated prison ministry for St. James Baptist Church at SCI Cresson, Cambria County, since 2003.
-- Daniel Wisnieski, for the past 17 years, has volunteered at SCIs Dallas and Retreat, Luzerne County, with Prison Christian Growth Group -- a
Catholic ministry based in Harrisburg.
-- Rita DeFebo leads prison prayer groups at SCI Frackville, Schuylkill County, with Prison Christian Growth Group.
-- Lawrence P. Powers Jr. has conducted self-help recovery meetings at SCI Fayette, Fayette County, for the past five years.
-- John "Ben" Crana has lead Jehovah's Witnesses Bible studies at SCI Forest, Forest County, since 2007.
-- George Williams has provided Jehovah's Witnesses Bible studies and faith discussions at SCI Graterford, Montgomery County, since 1989.
-- Deacon James M. Sheil, as part of his diaconal training, began volunteering to inmates and staff at SCI Greene, Greene County, in 1999.
-- James Klingensmith has led Theotherapy groups at SCI Greensburg, Westmoreland County, since 2000.
-- Gregory Martell has been a Yokefellowship Ministry volunteer at SCI Houtzdale, Clearfield County, since 2004.
-- David Kurtz has been a Yokefellowship Ministry volunteer at SCI Huntingdon, Huntingdon County, since 2004.
-- Randy Datsko has been a Prison Outreach Ministry volunteer at SCI Laurel Highlands, Somerset County, since 2002.
-- Delmar Burkholder has led Bible studies at SCI Mahanoy, Schuylkill County, since 2002.
-- Clark Schmidt has led recovery meetings at SCI Mercer, Mercer County, for the past 11 years.
-- Linda Meckley has been a Prison Fellowship volunteer at SCI Muncy, Lycoming County, for five years.
-- Charles R. Hileman has been involved in prison ministry at SCI Pine Grove, Indiana County, for the past three years.
-- Walter Schafer, a former inmate, leads recovery meetings at SCI Pittsburgh, Allegheny County.
-- Cynthia Pavelosky teaches a transitional reentry course to inmates at the Quehanna Boot Camp, Clearfield County.
-- Rev. Paul S. Moseley Sr. leads Bible studies at SCI Retreat, Luzerne County.
-- Todd R. and Temmy L. Fisher, for the past 10 years, have led a music ministry for inmates at SCI Rockview, Centre County.
-- Rev. Paul S. Bowen, since 1997, has been ministering to inmates at SCI Smithfield, Huntingdon County. His son is the prison's chaplaincy
-- Kevin Miller has provided Jehovah's Witnesses Bible studies and faith discussions at SCI Somerset, Somerset County, for the past 12
-- George Eroh has provided Biblical instruction to inmates at SCI Waymart, Wayne County, long before the facility was transferred from a state
hospital to a state prison in 1989.
-- John G. Umble, a former resident of the Harrisburg Community Corrections Center, leads recovery meetings for center residents.
Volunteers were presented with an attache bag and a framed letter signed by Governor Edward G. Rendell and Corrections Secretary Jeffrey A. Beard.
SOURCE: Pennsylvania Department of Corrections