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RCI inmates honor veterans

May 23, 1998

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

The irony was unmistakable - more than 40 incarcerated veterans celebrating the sacrifices they and others made for freedom.

But at Roxbury Correctional Institution Friday, there was no bitterness, only pride that was expressed sincerely and reverently.

The ceremony marked the 10th anniversary of the memorial was planned, built and rededicated each year by the Incarcerated Veterans Organization of Roxbury (IVOR).

Designed in 1988 by inmate Charles Persinger and built by inmates, the curved brick structure contains 4,200 bricks donated by Victor Cushwa and Sons in Williamsport.

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Labor and other materials were all donated from within the prison walls and the surrounding community. The flagpoles came from local veterans' organizations.

The memorial was officially dedicated on Nov. 11, 1989.

Since then, plaques have been designed and installed to honor veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and, this year, the Vietnam War.

Adolph Gardner, a wheelchair-bound resident of Walkersville, Md., joined the inmates Friday and spoke of their committment to their country.

"Whether inside or outside, we veterans have a common bond," Gardner told the inmates. He is a member of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

Edward Jackson, another Vietnam Veteran of America, came from Beltsville, Md., to speak of his eight years serving during the war.

"For me, the war has finally come to an end," Jackson said, noting that his two Vietnam-born daughters have finally been reunited with him in America.

"It won't be over for you until you are back in the free world," Jackson told the incarcerated veterans.

Mike Burch of Pointman Ministries in Thurmont urged the inmates to let Jesus lead them to peace and safety, much as their military pointman did during combat.

Inmate John Worsham praised his fellow veterans for their support of each other over the years. "That support has stood the test of time," Worsham said.

Worsham and Wilbert Sheeler read poems, the RCI Mass Choir sang patriotic songs and IVOR President Tamalyn "Rick" Coxen led prayers to those veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

This year, IVOR initiated its first fund-raising project with all proceeds from a car wash going to the Salvation Army in Washington County.

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