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Haircuts raise funds for Wrotens

March 27, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN

As the friend of a correctional officer killed in the line of duty, Joe Conway said he tries to put out of his mind the dangers he faces working at Maryland Correctional Institution.

"I figure you just, you just got to put it out of your mind, and just go do it. 'What if' are two big words there," Conway said.

Conway was among about 60 people who turned out Sunday for $10 haircuts at Hair Cuttery on Dual Highway as part of a benefit to raise money for the family of Jeffery Alan Wroten, a Roxbury Correctional Institution officer who died after being shot while guarding an inmate undergoing treatment at Washington County Hospital.

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Stylist Melissa Partlow said she was inspired to organize the benefit because her husband is a correctional officer.

"I worry about him. That made it a little worse," the 35-year-old Hagerstown woman said.

More than a dozen stylists donated their time to cut hair during a three-hour period after normal business hours Sunday, and the event raised more than $1,100, Partlow said.

A massage therapist and officer at Maryland Correctional Training Center, Larry Hill rubbed lotion on one stylist's arm as some of the Hair Cuttery's other employees worked with clients. Hill said though he knew Wroten only from trainings, he wanted to help the stylists who had donated Sunday evening to raise money.

"I like doing good for people, and massage is all about empathy and compassion, and I get by giving, basically," he said.

Conway said he and Wroten were friends for three or four years.

"Very nice man, very nice man, loved his family, loved his kids," said Conway, 33, of Clear Spring.

Brandon Morris, 20, an inmate at Roxbury Correctional Institution at the time of the Jan. 26 shooting, faces death-penalty-eligible murder charges.

Correctional officer Larry Bockstanz, who used to talk to Wroten at work about his family and children, said the shooting has brought home the realities of the job.

"It used to be there was always that chance, and now you know it can happen. It's just total disbelief," Bockstanz, 40, of Hagerstown said as he waited for a haircut. Redhead Darla Liller, 35, of Hagerstown, shook out her new bob as she rose from a chair. As a woman who typically wears her hair long, Liller said it was time for a change.

She said she can't help but worry about Bockstanz, her fiance.

"Well, he knows that I really am concerned. There are times when I just call him while he's at work - I don't know - just to make sure he's OK. He always tells me that he's fine, but he doesn't always tell me about what occurs," she said.

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