Sheriff's Office Honors Jail Volunteers

April 20, 2012

"I believe that you are very special individuals," said Fairfax County Sheriff Stan Barry at an April 19, 2012 luncheon to recognize the 300 active volunteers who work in the Adult Detention Center. "The average person never thinks about people in the county jail. If they did, they would think about punishment and retribution. But you see people…people that need help, people that need guidance, people that need encouragement. You see the opportunity to help them save their own lives."

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 – Robert Gisch (Annandale); Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources – James Kennedy (Vienna); Chaplain’s Office – Elmer Thomas (Fairfax Station); and Alcohol and Drug Services – Bruce Potter (Chantilly).

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 2011 volunteers contributed more than 13,000 hours and presented more than 6,500 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.  

The Sheriff also acknowledged the two dozen local businesses that generously donated items as door prizes for the volunteers.   

If you or anyone you know is interested in becoming a Sheriff’s Office volunteer, download the application or contact 2nd Lt. Brian Johnston at or 703-246-2845 [TTY 711 for hearing impaired].

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