LANSING, KS (KCTV) – One of the hotspots for coronavirus infections has been prisons.
On Thursday, the Department is Corrections honored two Lansing corrections supervisors who succumbed to the virus last week.
The winding drive leading to the Lansing Correctional Facility was lined with American flags and flanked by the Patriot Guard as cars, trucks, and motorcycles drove slowly past a stage where the families of two fallen officers sat.
It was a new kind of visitation, with all of the honors but none of the hugs.
“These men were dedicated to a very difficult career,” said Lansing Correctional Facility Warden Shannon Meyer.
Corrections Supervisor George Bernard Robare, who went by Bernie, died on May 11 from complications of COVID-19. A Marine veteran, he had worked at Lansing for 36 years
Supervisor Fella Adebiyi died one day later. His family did not supply a photo for religious reasons. He had spent 20 years with the Department of Corrections.
Kansas Department of Corrections Secretary Jeff Zmuda said, “They were more than supervisors here at the Lansing facility. They really served as mentors.”
“Showing others, new staff, how to communicate, how to relate to the offenders who live here,” said Meyer.
“They hold the inmates accountable and yet they also coach them towards success,” Zmuda said.
The DOC considers their deaths as being in the line of duty. Their names will be placed on a memorial wall at the entrance along with seven others who died in the line of duty over the years.
“They deserve way more than we can do tonight, but just honoring them and letting everyone know the service they provided is very important,” Meyer said.
After the public visitation, staff and family participated in a private candlelight vigil to provide a more intimate expression of support.
“It’s a way for all of us to pull together and grieve and then somehow find a way through this together,” Zmuda said.
Four prisoners have also died from conditions related to the coronavirus.
Recent widespread testing shows 96 staff members and 817 prisoners have tested positive.