Sheriff’s Office Honors Jail Volunteers

Fairfax County Sheriff Stan Barry honored the 275 active volunteers who work in the county jail, saying, “It feels so good to thank you face-to-face for what you do.”

Speaking at an April 20, 2011, luncheon, Barry told the volunteers that while they may never be thanked by the people they help the most, that doesn’t mean they don’t care. “What you do as a volunteer,” he said, “has a profound effect on inmate behavior. The gift you give them is priceless, and one day they will have a defining moment and know that.”

Barry told the volunteers that Sheriff’s deputies ensure that inmates know the rules and the consequences of not following the rules. “At the same time,” he said, “we need someone to say to the people in jail, ‘I believe in you. You are a valuable person.’ That’s what a volunteer does.”

Special recognition

The Sheriff’s Office gave special recognition to an outstanding volunteer in each of four service areas:

  • Bill Ritchey — Education;
  • Linda Rule — Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources;
  • Norman Bacon — Chaplain’s Office; and
  • Nate Trager — Alcohol and Drug Services.

Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) presented a copy of a page from the Congressional Record to the Sheriff’s Office and the four honorees. “The selfless commitment of these individuals helps to provide enumerable benefits to our community and life-changing services to the inmates they serve,” said Connolly.

Volunteer program

Sheriff’s Office volunteers provide inmate programs at the Adult Detention Center and the Pre-Release Center, including life skills, job skills, parenting, personal improvement, drug and alcohol addiction recovery, educational advancement and spirituality. In 2010 volunteers contributed more than 12,000 hours and presented more than 4,600 classes.

The Sheriff’s Office partners with numerous organizations — including the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board; Fairfax County Public Schools; Good News Jail & Prison Ministry; and Opportunities, Alternatives & Resources of Fairfax — to offer inmates the opportunity to make a difference in their future.

If you are interested in becoming a Sheriff’s Office volunteer, call 2nd Lt. Patty Chartak, 703-246-2845, or e-mail the Sheriff’s Office at shf-sheriff@fairfaxcounty.gov.

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