Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

                                               NEWS RELEASE                                                     


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                 MAY 2, 2003

Prisons Chief Names Top CO of the Year and Makes Special

Presentation of DRC’s Award for Valor

(Columbus) – At a ceremony held this afternoon, Reginald A. Wilkinson, Director of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC), named Correction Officer (CO) Howard C. Webb as the DRC Corrections Officer of the Year and the recipient of the Ronald C. Marshall Award.

Officer Webb works at the Toledo Correctional Institution (ToCI).  He began his career with DRC at the Montgomery Education and Pre-Release Center in Dayton in 1997 and transferred to ToCI in 2000.  He is an active member of the ToCI Special Tactical and Response Team and takes advantage of training opportunities in a variety of areas. 

Director Wilkinson made a special presentation during the banquet.  Each year, DRC awards a Gold Star Award for Valor to select employees that have risked their own personal safety to resolve a dangerous situation and that have been directly involved in saving a life or preventing serious physical harm to others.  This is DRC highest award for bravery and courage.  Today, Director Wilkinson announced that the Gold Star Award for Valor has been officially named the Vallandingham Gold Star Award for Valor in honor of Corrections Officer Robert Vallandingham who was slain during the riot at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) ten years ago. 

“I wanted the Vallandingham name to become a permanent symbol of recognition within this agency,” explained Director Wilkinson.  “This will be a means of ensuring that this agency will always remember Officer Vallandingham and the sacrifice he made.”

Director Wilkinson presented a Vallandingham Gold Star Award for Valor to Officer Vallandingham, posthumously to his widow, Peggy.  There was also a plaque presented to Bobby Vallandingham’s sister, Shirley Osbourn, to posthumously recognize their parents, Homer and Wanda Vallandingham, who were activists with victim’s issues following Bobby’s murder.   

A Vallandingham Gold Star Award for Valor was also presented to Lt. Darrold Clark, the only former hostage of the Lucasville riot still working at SOCF.

For more information, please contact the DRC Public Information Office at (614) 752-1150.