Incarcerated veterans donate to nonprofits

GEORGETOWN — During a recent ceremony at Sussex Correctional Institution, the SCI Incarcerated Veterans Group presented $3,750 in donations to six local nonprofit organizations that serve disadvantaged veterans and other community members in need.

These donations, generated by fundraising events held throughout the year, were presented to representatives from People’s Place Veterans Outreach Program, Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary Post 2931, the Delaware Center for Homeless Veterans, The Way Home Program, the Delaware Homelessness Initiative and Code Purple, according to the Delaware Department of Correction.

The IVG was founded in 2010 by incarcerated veterans under the sponsorship of then-Correctional Counselor James Deel, and has grown to more than 40 members who represent each branch of the military and the United States Coast Guard, the DOC said. Members meet monthly to plan ongoing fundraisers and connect with information about resources available to assist them as veterans during their period of incarceration and when they return to the community.

Through its most popular fundraiser, IVG members use their skills to produce wooden flag display boxes that are available for purchase by the public at Delaware’s veteran’s cemeteries. During the past year, members also donated their carpentry skills to build a dog house that was auctioned for charity.

The IVG’s membership and charitable works continue to grow through the organizational efforts of its members and the ongoing sponsorship of volunteer James Deel and its current staff liaison, Correctional Lt. Dan Devern.

Its commitment to rehabilitation and to serving others has earned the strong support of SCI Warden G.R. Johnson.

“Even as these men pay their debt to society they have committed themselves to giving back and to serving the less fortunate as part of their rehabilitation,” Warden Johnson said.

“Our support for this group is one way that our facility honors the service of our military veterans and encourages our incarcerated veterans to support each other.”

Commissioner of Correction Robert Coupe added, “With the operational support of Warden Johnson and his team, over the past four years the Incarcerated Veterans Group has put their talents and skills to good use generating more than $15,000 in donations to local organizations that provide food, shelter and above all, hope, to members of our communities in need.

“I applaud their efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

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