Dec 17, 2014
Anna Maria Hosts Sheriff’s Office Recruit Graduation
By Peter Jasinski
The sound comes as a steady thrum, the continuous one-two beat of feet marching in place. It grows louder when they emerge from the back of the auditorium, a group of 25 making their way to the stage.
They are soon to be the most recent graduates of the Worcester County Sheriff ’s Office’s Basic Recruit Training Academy. Their motto is “Ductus Exemplo,” leadership by example.
“You started as 28 individuals and you finished 25 strong,” said Captain Christopher Brothers of the sheriff ’s office to the officers attending the graduation ceremony held at Anna Maria College on Dec. 12. “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and I want to congratulate you for that.”
The ceremony marked the end of a 12-week journey for all 25 of the area’s newest correctional officers. In a county where 6,200 individuals are processed through the correctional system, the criteria for becoming one of the responsible officers is strict. Training covers not only the expected, such as defensive tactics and first responder classes, but also tactical driving and methods of suicide prevention and awareness.
Time spent not exercising or studying was often devoted to community service. During their 12 weeks, the correctional officers-in-training assisted with the ninth Annual Sheriff ’s Food Drive and donated to the Planting the Seed Foundation Toy Drive. Upon learning that the son of one of their training staff had a condition known as Alopecia, the officers entered a 5K race last month in order to raise money for the National Alopecia Foundation.
“Yes, we want to keep bad people off the streets, but we also have an obligation to work with these inmates who want to change,” said Class President Carlos Cataquet.
The training was grueling enough for Officer Cataquet to look back on exercises spent in burning buildings and being pepper-sprayed in the face as fond experiences. Overall, he feels time spent was overwhelmingly positive.
“As time went on, our struggles made us more unified as a family,” he said.
This family is not one that contains itself only in and around Worcester, but throughout the entire county. Now, they will find themselves moving to the places their new occupation asks of them, with each graduate moving on to a position within the sheriff ’s office.
“With the hiring standards that we’ve implemented, we really have some of the best and brightest in law enforcement you could see today,” said Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis. “They were a phenomenal class. Everyone told me they were a very cohesive group that they stuck together closely and looked out for each other.”
Officer Joseph Armstrong was the recipient of the Lawrence P. Sullivan Fitness Award, with the Francis T. Foley Academic Award and Paul J. Westberg Class Banner Award going to Officers Joseph Hattabaugh and Matthew Coakley, respectively. Though only three awards were distributed, the class distinguished itself with an uncommonly high grade average of 89.3, a full point higher than the preceding class. The graduates also count four military veterans among them, with two members of the National Guard, one member of the Army, and one member of the Marine Corps.
“This job is not just walking the blocks. Remember, this is not ‘prison guards’ anymore, that’s an antiquated term,” said Sheriff Evangelidis. “These are correctional officers and they truly are trained to correct people, and that’s a challenging, hard job. I want them to know this is a new age and they’re representing a new wave.”
Dec 17, 2014
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Patrick Sargent, GoLocal Worcester Contributor
Dec 17, 2014
Sheriff’s Office Distributes Over 3,000 Winter Coats
By Valerie Franchi, Contributing Writer
Saturday, December 6th, 2014
Alyssa Thibeault, Ellen Savickas and Andrew Abdella from the sheriff’s office;
St. Anne’s volunteers Evelyn Jenkins and Elaine LeBlanc;
Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis; and Joe Capone, executive director of the Reserve Deputy Sheriff Association
Shrewsbury – Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis delivered more than 3,000 winter coats to 11 community organizations throughout the county Dec. 3 and 5, as part of the fourth annual Winter Coat Drive. The last stop was at St. Anne’s Church in Shrewsbury.
“This is a great program,” Evangelidis said. “It is amazing to see the need. One woman getting coats for her kids said they needed them not just for outside, but inside the house. People are cold.”
Other stops on the campaign included Veterans Inc., and St. John’s Food Pantry in Worcester.
The program is organized through the Worcester County Reserve Deputy Sheriff Association, the charity arm of the sheriff’s office.
Coats are collected year-round at the sheriff’s office, 240 Main St., Worcester.
Dec 17, 2014
Warm gifts for the winter season
News Staff Writer
GARDNER – Staff from Sheriff Lew Evangelidis office, as well as the sheriff himself, carried hundreds of winter coats, hats, gloves and snow boots into the Gardner Community Action Center’s office on Wednesday morning.
The Sheriff’s Annual Winter Coat Drive has provided thousands of people with new and lightly used winter gear.
Sheriff Evangelidis said every time he is out delivering the coats, he remembers the simple thank you a girl, who looked to be about 13, gave him when he handed her a coat.
“She said, ‘it’s so much more than just a coat,’” he said. “I always think of her … I’ve been cold plenty of times, but I’ve never had to be cold.”
The coat drives helps make sure people don’t have to be cold.
This year, the Sheriff said more than 3,000 coats were collected, making it the most successful coat to date. At the kickoff event in October, Wachusett Mountain Ski Area lended the drive a major boost when they donated 1,500 coats.
In addition to the CAC, the coats will be distributed to the Cleghorn & Spanish American Centers, the Hope Center of Fitchburg, The Friendly House of Worcester, Rutland Food Pantry, Saint Anne’s Food Pantry in Shrewsbury and Tradewinds of Southbridge.
While the economy has shown some signs of recovery, Sheriff Evangelidis said there is still a lot of need in the region.
The office of Sheriff Lew Evangelidis, above, collected 3,000 coats this year, setting a new record.
“We can’t even meet the need of the community,” he said. “But we can help.”
Last winter, the Gardner CAC ran out of coats midway through the winter. Julie Meehan, the executive director of the CAC, said people had already started calling and asking when winter coats would become available.
“It’s so cold in the houses, people are sleeping in their coats now,” she said. She estimated the majority of the coats will be distributed within the next three weeks.
Several local businesses, including the Gardner Museum, Wachusett Mountain, and Hannaford Supermarkets, partnered with the Sheriff’s office to help collect the coats.
“It takes a tremendous amount of coordination,” said Mayor Mark Hawke, while thanking people who contributed.
He said that he cleaned out his own closets, after seeing children on the playground in 30 degree weather without a winter coat.
“All they have is sweatshirt,” he said.
People who wish to donate additional coats can drop them off at the Gardner CAC, located above the Senior Center at 294 Pleasant St.