Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tony Dashner

27 years working in a para-military environment takes its toll. At the start of every shift we hold a formal line-up, a roll is called, all the officers are inspected, they are informed of anything going on in the facility. The state has 69 prisons and when you sign on you go where you are needed, then use your seniority to work your way back home. So timing is everything, some get home right away and some it may take years. A lot depends on the where you are trying to get to.

I am the guy that chairs the line-up, calls everyone to attention, deploys the troops, and reads the statewide information from a clipboard. It is this clipboard that has pushed me to take my retirement. More and more there are death notices of people that I have worked with. The prison industry has a very poor mortality rate, we die young. In the best run, safest, trouble free prison, the stress level is still off the hook! There are coping skills that help and there are people working there that should just quit because the job is killing them. Families and marriages suffer when the job is brought home or the staff member drinks or uses drugs to try and manage his or her own work related demons.

Yesterday I went to a wake. Tony was 51 years old, a body builder, one of the funniest guys I knew. He did not die because of the prison or did he? He was on workers comp after an incident with an inmate and was off recovering from knee surgery. His mom and dad went to Florida and Tony was tending their dogs and house for them.

No one knows for sure just what happened. Tony was missing for three days, his parents were waiting at the airport for him to pick them up. They took a cab home and found Tony's keys, cell phone and winter coat in their kitchen. Also his two dogs were in the house and had not been out for a while as they had messed on the floor.

A massive search party was formed. Police and Correction Officers responded in groves because one of their own had gone missing. The area around the house was searched, there is a river that runs behind it. Tony and the dog had both drowned after going through the ice. The underwater recovery team brought them both out of the water.

The Corrections Officers carried their fallen comrade on a litter the mile or so to the road. I am so proud to work with and know such a close knit group of people that truly care for one another. Reading the clipboard at line-up was one of the hardest things I have done in quite some time.

Tony we all miss you and hope against hope you are in a better place.

9 comments:

RED MOJO said...

That's horribly sad. It's strange he didn't have his coat on. He must've been trying to rescue the dog??? I don't blame you for wanting out. Thanks for the perspective though, I was completely miserable because we are getting major snow today, and it's pushing my already rescheduled appointments out even further...seems small now.

MarmiteToasty said...

Oh my goodness, Im so sorry for the loss of your friend... how very sad, Im hoping that it was an accident..... hugs to you at this sad time..... sigh..... life aye, its what we sign up for...

x

Goddess of the Woods said...

I am sorry for your loss. I now understand why retirement is calling to you so loudly. It'll be here soon enough and, while you'll still remember those you've lost, you won't be faced with the clip board reminder on a daily basis.

Kati said...

I'm sorry to hear about Tony's death. My prayers are with his family, and you & his many other friends & coworkers. What a painful line of work to be in. It is certainly understandable why you're so anxious to be retired, while you've still got sanity & sobriety to enjoy.

Ol' Lady said...

That just sucks :(
Thoughts, prayers & good vibes being sent your way.

Gina said...

I am so sorry for Tony's loss. How terribly sad for his comrades and family.

Wizened Wizard said...

I'm so sorry. How terribly sad for his parents as well as his friends.

Coincidentally, my post today is on the possibility of unexpected death.

Loss like Tony's surely puts the day to day annoyances in perspective and helps us realize how precious our time here is.

Wiz

Rachel said...

That's terrible news; I'm sorry.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of so many of your colleagues. BG