CENTRAL FALLS — Fourteen recruits became correctional officers during a graduation ceremony Friday afternoon, with many of the guest speakers welcoming 14 new family members to the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility.
The graduation ceremony for Class 36 — “The Wolverines” — was held in front of a standing-room only crowd of friends and family members inside the Wyatt Detention Training Facility on High Street.
David A. Caruso, director of training and staff development, welcomed the guests and the recruits who would soon receive their diplomas and badges.
The 14 graduates before him displayed that they could withstand tests of strength, fortitude, courage, commitment and character, Caruso said, adding that each made their own personal sacrifices and would soon earn the privilege and honor to wear the uniform of the correctional officer.
The sacrifices the 14 made – from spending time away from their families to working a demanding schedule – would not end with their graduation. However, these 14 were soon adding new “family members” that would support them.
Caruso noted that three words came to mind on Friday: pride, performance and professionalism. He recalled eight weeks prior, when 16 eager individuals stood in the training facility’s gymnasium, and before him Friday afternoon stood 14 “well-trained, highly-motivated” correctional officers who met the standards, overcame challenges, and upheld the mission.
Interim Warden Daniel W. Martin told the soon-to-be graduates that the journey has just begun. He said that there would be missed birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays, but the Wyatt family would always be there, calling it “a brotherhood like no other.”
Their fellow “family members” would be there to ensure that at the end of the shift, the correctional officers would be able to go home and give that cake for a birthday or give that present for an anniversary.
After welcoming the 14 recruits on this new journey, Martin read the correctional officers’ creed.
FOP President Anthony Rainville in his address said that the fellow correctional officers would serve as each others’ eyes when they cannot see, or their strength when they cannot go on.
The Wyatt family “is always here for you,” he said, noting that when life kicks them down, their fellow officers would be there to grab them by their bootstraps and help them up until they are strong enough to stand on their own.
The graduates then each received their diplomas, and a family member pinned their badge to their uniform.
After diplomas were presented, Central Falls Mayor James Diossa took to the podium to congratulate the newest correctional officers.
Diossa said he was proud to have such professional staff working in Central Falls and added that he was glad that the city now shares a “solidified” relationship with the Wyatt Detention Facility.
“Everyone is going in the same direction, in the right direction,” Diossa said, later adding, “You are now models within a great institution and a great city.”
Class leader and graduate Emmaus Nerney addressed his fellow graduates to conclude the ceremony. He quoted Confucius, saying, “He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right.”
Nerney noted that despite the challenges and obstacles placed before them, the graduates began to say that they could.
“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it takes to accomplish it,” Nerney said, acknowledging that the eight weeks they spent in training were among the fastest eight weeks of their lives.
The following are the Class 36 recruits that graduated from the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility Correctional Officer Academy Class:
Anthony J. Algasso Jr.
Jeffrey D. Davis
Robert J. Frye
Brian L. Goetz
Steven N. Golotto
Eric S. Hersperger
Shawn R. Matteson
Anthony Moore Jr.
Michael A. Reid
John H. Ruoppo
Story originally appeared in the July 11 Times and Call. Online version found here.