Sheriff's Office Applauds Jail Volunteers

Sheriff Stan Barry, left, greets volunteer Robert Aikin."It feels so good to thank you face-to-face for what you do," said Fairfax County Sheriff Stan Barry at an April 20, 2011 luncheon to recognize the 275 active volunteers who work in the county jail. "You may never be thanked by the people you help the most, but don’t think that means they don’t care. What you do as a volunteer 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."

The Sheriff’s Office gave special recognition to an outstanding volunteer in each of four service areas: Education - Bill Ritchey; Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources – Linda Rule; Chaplain’s Office – Norman Bacon; and Alcohol and Drug Services – Nate Trager.

Congressman Gerry Connolly 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.

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.

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

If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a Sheriff’s Office volunteer, please call 2nd Lt. Patty Chartak, 703-246-2845, or e-mail the Sheriff's Office.

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