Saturday, November 26, 2022

Area corrections officers honored at annual Ionia Rotary ceremony

IONIA — Six local corrections officers were honored by the Rotary Club of Ionia on Wednesday at the annual Corrections Officers of the Year ceremony.

Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility corrections officer of the year Austin Peabody, right, was honored by Warden Matt Macauley. — DN Photo | Tim McAllister

This year’s exceptional officers were Austin Peabody, Marc Tervo, Monte Newland, Neil Costello, Erik Schafer and Ashley Badder.

Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility corrections officer Austin Peabody was honored by Warden Matt Macauley. Peabody is a nine-year department veteran who earned a lifesaving award and also owns his own business, AP Landscaping.

“Austin comes to work every day with a positive attitude, a smile on his face and a ‘can do’ work ethic,” Macauley said. “Austin is an excellent representative for the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility with his positive attitude, his hard work ethic and his continued service to this community.”

Richard Handlon Correctional Facility corrections officer Marc Tervo is the yard officer at that prison.

“For his peers (or) his supervisors, he is that ‘go to’ person,” said Warden Melinda Braman. “He works a lot with new staff at the facility. He is one of the officers that our supervisors lean on to help train them and make sure they’re following policy and procedure. He comes to work with a smile — and he comes to work, which is huge these days.”

Michigan Reformatory Correctional Facility Warden Mike Walczak, right, honored corrections officer of the year Neil Costello at Shadow Ridge Golf Club on Wednesday. — DN Photo | Tim McAllister

Third shift Ionia Correctional Facility corrections officer Monte Newland was unable to

Richard Handlon Correctional Facility corrections officer of the year Marc Tervo, right, receives his award from Warden Melinda Braman. — DN Photo | Tim McAllister

attend the ceremony. Warden John Davids said Newland has 18 years of experience at the facility and has earned two lifesaving awards.

“He’s a leader (and) he provides mentoring for the staff, especially the younger staff that we have on third shift,” Davids said. “(Newland) represents the type of people that that we work with everyday, (he) represents corrections. They run to trouble and don’t shy away from it, and they’re professionals.”

Michigan Reformatory Correctional Facility corrections officer Neil Costello, a 19-year veteran, was also this year’s Michigan Department of Corrections Officer of the Year.

“The first thing I noticed about about Neil was he’s a selfless leader,” said Warden Mike Walczak. “When I was asking staff, some of the words that came out were professionalism, honesty, integrity, humble, dedication, family man, advocate (and) hardworking.”

Carson City Correctional Facility corrections officer of the year Erik Schafer, right, stands with Assistant Deputy Warden Pat Makara. — DN Photo | Tim McAllister

Carson City Correctional Facility corrections officer Erik Schafer has worked at the facility for six years and is vice president of the Michigan Corrections Organization union.

“His demeanor is very calm and he is very respected by his peers and fellow officers,” said Assistant Deputy Warden Pat Makara. “Back in 2021, he assisted a coworker who was very seriously injured in a prisoner assault. He is one to step into the fire and not step away from the fire. We can rely on him.”

Ionia County Sheriff’s Department Corrections Officer Ashley Badder has worked in corrections since 2005 and is currently assigned to the transport division.

“She continually works hard, displays leadership, communicates effectively with co-workers and inmates (and she) is always respectful and professional,” said Sheriff Charles Noll. “Officer Badder has stepped up to her new role as transport officer with vigor and integrity.”

Wednesday’s event at Shadow Ridge Golf Club was sponsored by Herbruck’s, Michigan One Community Credit Union, Mercantile Bank and Olivera’s Restaurant.

Ionia County Sheriff’s Department corrections officer of the year Ashley Badder, right, stands with Ionia County Sheriff Charles Noll. — DN Photo | Tim McAllister

The ceremony began with opening remarks from Ionia Rotary President Ray Shippey and a speech and invocation prayer by Ken Baker of Soaring Above Teen Center.

State Rep. Julie Calley, R-Portland, State Rep. Pat Outman, R-Six Lakes, and State Sen. Rick Outman, R-Six Lakes, were all present and delivered legislative proclamations signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to each of the honorees.

Closing remarks were delivered by Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington.

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