CLEARFIELD – On Tuesday the Clearfield County Commissioners made a series of proclamations to celebrate corrections officers and employees, Community Action agencies and older Americans and those who serve them.
Celebrating Corrections Officers and Employees Week, May 1-7
Pennsylvania’s corrections officers and employees face new and difficult challenges every day with 25 state correctional institutions, a motivational boot camp, a training academy, 13 community corrections centers, 43 contract facilities, 63 county prisons and jails and 15 federal facilities and offices, read Commissioner John A. Sobel, chair, from Gov. Tom Wolf’s proclamation.
State correctional facilities house approximately 100,000 inmates. The secure operation and management of those facilities on a daily basis rests in the hands of more than 28,000 trained, skilled and dedicated corrections professionals, according to the proclamation.
Sobel said the county jail’s corrections officers and employees are kept busy and have a “difficult job.” He said the county has a “significant drug problem,” and local law enforcement agencies are working very hard to fight the “War on Drugs.”
“But the many folks involved in that end up at the Clearfield County Prison. It’s a very busy place. It’s a very difficult job,” he said. “And, we don’t appreciate enough our corrections employees.”
Commissioner Mark B. McCracken wanted to emphasize that the county also has the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale, the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center and the Quehanna Boot Camp. “We actually have a large number of corrections-related employees if you put all four facilities together,” he said.
“The public only really knows how important those jobs are when something goes wrong in one of them or there’s a lockdown or dangerous incidents like at SCI Houtzdale where guards are hurt.”
Commissioner Tony Scotto concurred with his fellow commissioners, adding that employees at correctional facilities are also facing difficulties in dealing with overpopulation.
Celebrating National Community Action Month in May
On Aug. 20, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act; it created a variety of programs, including Community Action agencies, as part of his War on Poverty.
Johnson believed: “America’s ‘War on Poverty’ must be won in the field, in every private home, in every public office, from the courthouse to the White House,” read Scotto from the commissioners’ proclamation.
He stated that Central Pennsylvania Community Action (CPCA) was established in 1967 to wage the war on poverty in Clearfield County:
- by promoting self-sufficiency for those of limited income, ensuring that all residents are able to live in dignity;
- by implementing innovative and cost-effective programs to improve the lives and living conditions of the impoverished;
- by providing support and instruction for everyone in need of assistance; and
- by being a major voice of reason in establishing welfare system reforms.
“Community Action Month is a wonderful time to honor and celebrate the impact Community Action has in the lives of families and communities across the country,” stated Executive Director Susan Hawthorne in a news release.
“Agencies are successful every day in helping families achieve economic security. Given that the needs of each family and community are unique, Community Action is able to use a range of resources and programs to meet local needs in creative and impactful ways.”
CPCA statistics underscore a positive impact on local neighborhoods, according to Hawthorne. The agency, she said, helps countless individuals improve their lives each year by providing them essential services and life-changing opportunities through Individual Development Accounts, financial education and job training as well as making available affordable housing, economic development, natural disaster relief and recovery, health care, energy assistance and more.
Despite experiencing budget cuts, shrinking resources and increased demands for services during these challenging economic times, she said that CPCA has been remarkably successful assisting the low-income veterans, senior citizens, families, children, students, etc. of Clearfield County to achieve and maintain economic security.
Hawthorne attests: “Our staff is committed to their task of replacing disadvantages with opportunities because it is right, because it is wise and because, in our hearts and minds we believe it is possible to conquer poverty in our lifetime.”
Celebrating Older Americans Month in May
The Clearfield County Area Agency on Aging Inc. includes a community of older Americans who deserve recognition for their contributions, read Sobel from the commissioners’ proclamation.
“CCAAA recognizes that older adults are trailblazers – advocating for themselves, their peers and their communities – paving the way for future generations,” he stated.
“CCAAA is committed to raising awareness about issues facing older Americans and helping all individuals to thrive in communities of their choice for as long as possible.
“We appreciate the value of inclusion and support in helping older adults successfully contribute to and benefit from their communities.”
Rikki Ross, director of planning and marketing for CCAAA, stated the agency continues to look for ways to reach out to and connect with older adults in the county in order to engage them in activities, wellness and social events.
For example, Ross made note of the agency’s Life-long Learning Institute, which is offered in collaboration with Lock Haven University’s Clearfield. campus.
“We urge every resident to take the time this month to acknowledge older adults and the people who serve them as powerful and vital individuals who greatly contribute to our community,” stated Sobel.