Benefit for a brother

Auction to help slain officer's family

Auction to help slain officer's family

May 09, 2006|by KAREN HANNA


From baskets and board games to sailing and sports, an auction to benefit the family of a correctional officer killed in the line of duty offered participants a little bit of everything Monday.

But, shopping was not the only thing on people's minds.

"Right now, I work for the Sheriff's Office, and Jeffery Wroten was a brother, as are many of the people in this room," Deputy Patrick Kemmerer said as he sized up items for bid.

Law enforcement, correctional officers and others filled the ballroom at Four Points Sheraton in Hagerstown for the second of two "We Care" auctions. The proceeds of the auctions - the first was Saturday - will go to the five children of Wroten, a Roxbury Correctional Institution officer who died in January after a shooting at Washington County Hospital, auctioneer Denny Stouffer said.


Stouffer said Monday night he would not know right away how much money either event raised.

A retired correctional officer, Kemmerer, 42, said he knew Wroten.

"We're all brothers. You got to take care of your brothers - and their families," he said.

For Steve Scrugham, a Maryland Correctional Training Center officer, that was reason enough to come. So were the four firearms he planned to bid on during the auction.

"Soon as that stuff comes up, I've got my eye set on that rifle over there," Scrugham said with a nod to a long gun on a table in the ballroom.

A corporal with the 243rd Engineer Company of the Maryland Army National Guard, Scrugham said he has spent the past 1 1/2 months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center receiving treatment for injuries he suffered in Iraq.

"In fact, I was over in Iraq when I heard about what happened to him," Scrugham, 36, of Hagerstown, said of Wroten.

In a note that accompanied a Longaberger basket for bid, the donor wrote, "God bless the Jeffery Wroten family and God bless the kind hearted people of this community involved in this endeavor."

Before the auction, City of Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II presented Wroten's ex-wife, Tracey Wroten, with a proclamation from the city council. Other officials at the auction included Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, Division of Correction Commissioner Frank Sizer and a representative from Gov. Robert Ehrlich's office.

"My grief is with you, my prayers are with you and your family," Bruchey said. City Council members Kelly S. Cromer and Penny May Nigh also attended the auction, said Bruchey, who is a retired correctional officer.

The experience behind the prison walls binds officers together, one auction bidder said.

"It could be any one of us. We all work behind the fence," said Tom Nittinger, a case manager at Maryland Correctional Training Center who spent $25 for a week's instruction at a sports camp.

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