ODOC inmates and staff collaborate on veterans memorial behind the wire of
an Oklahoma prison
LEXINGTON, OKLA. – A group of veterans is hard at work creating a lasting memorial to those who served and sacrificed.
‘It is for all veterans,” inmate David Chartier said. “It’s not just for inmates, but also the staff and the officers. We want to give them the same respect as the rest of the guys.”
This veteran’s memorial is being built inside Lexington Correctional Center. It’s a vision that began several years ago and evolved from a flagpole to a monument in the center of the prison yard.
“Frankly, I hope it grows even more because I think it’s beneficial to the state, the Department of Corrections, these guys and their families,” said Captain Everett Shea. “It’s also beneficial to me.”
The memorial wall commemorates the names of inmates and ODOC staff who are no longer with us.
“I’m a part of something that’s special,” expressed inmate Robert Wilson. “It’s something to be proud of and hold your head up about and be positive about.”
The inmates are providing all the labor.
“I saw they were up here pouring concrete, and that’s what I do,” one inmate told us. “I wanted to help out and just give back.”
TEEM and Boeing, two valued ODOC community partners, donated approximately $10,000 in materials.
“TEEM is honored to partner with ODOC and the veterans who reside at LARC,” stated TEEM Director Kris Steel. “They want to establish a memorial to pay tribute to the veterans whose lives were lost. May they never be forgotten.”
Often only seen in prison orange, this project helps these men remember when they proudly served the red, white and blue.
“Instead of letting that drag us down, we can look at what we accomplished and take pride that I was a marine,” inmate Charles Dyer said. “I can lift myself up and be better than what people think I am.”
They may have lost their freedom, but no one can take away their service.