On Tuesday, September 2nd, Lloyd Hedges will enter his 51st year of service as a Correctional Officer with the Rhode Island Department of Corrections. Colleagues, family, and friends will honor Lloyd at a celebration of this important anniversary on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, at 2:30 p.m. at the Anthony P. Travisono Intake Service Center where Lloyd has spent much of his career.
The event will begin with guests being escorted to the Visiting Room. At 2:52 p.m., C.O. Captain Charles Dede will begin roll call for the 3 – 11 p.m. shift, concluding with a brief statement about Lloyd. He will then turn the program over to Warden Matthew Kettle, who will speak about Lloyd and introduce the Honorable Governor Lincoln Chafee, Corrections Director A.T. Wall II, and RIBCO President David Mellon, all of whom will offer greetings and brief remarks and present citations and gifts. The ceremony will conclude with refreshments.
Many of his colleagues today weren't even born when on September 2, 1962, Lloyd Hedges first reported for duty at Maximum Security, the state's one prison facility at the time. Already in his 30's having worked as a truck driver and served in the Korean War, Lloyd wanted to earn more money and live a better life. At just 135 pounds, the staff took bets on whether he would last two weeks on the job. Twenty years later, he moved to Intake when it opened in 1982. He has never left.
When he began, there were 120 officers in total in the Department (there are now over 900). When women came on board, they were referred to as "matrons" and wore white like nurses. There were only about a dozen female prisoners and they were housed in a building which has since been torn down. Diversity among the staff was sorely lacking.
C.O. Hedges has been taken hostage twice during his career. He has witnessed stabbings, prevented suicides, been in riots, and much more during the tumultuous years when the inmates were in control of the facilities. Some of the dangerous scenes to which Officer Hedges was exposed over the years are relayed in a profile of him included in the Spring/Summer 2007 edition of the RIDOC Review, available on the Department's website (www.doc.ri.gov) under Media and Community Relations. Hedges has received numerous awards and commendations over the years including the distinction of being named Correctional Officer of the Year in 1988. He was recognized by then Mayor Vincent Cianci Jr. for devoting himself to the people of his community by providing physical, financial and emotional assistance to those in need. C.O. Hedges has provided funding for numerous students who otherwise would not have been able to attend college.
Hedges had been a C.O. for 42 years and 10 months before ever calling in sick and he has taken just a few hours of sick time during his 50-year career. He and his wife, Betty, have one daughter who is an attorney in New York and a professor at St. John's University. They have two grandchildren. The 83-year-old C.O. says he has no plans to retire.
Members of the press who are interested in covering the event must contact Tracey Zeckhausen at (401) 462-2609 or firstname.lastname@example.org in advance for clearance.