The Oklahoma Correctional Employee Memorial Foundation (OCEMF) was established in 2006 by a group of corrections employees who wished to create a memorial honoring correctional employees who died in the line of duty or while serving the citizens of Oklahoma. With assistance from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (ODOC), a plan was initiated to construct and maintain a suitable monument to record the names of fallen heroes.
On May 18, 2007, the first Annual Memorial Ceremony was held on the front lawn of ODOC Administration offices. This ceremony was attended by former directors, Larry Fields and Larry Meachum, who spoke of their pride in leading the ODOC and echoed the feelings of the current director, Justin Jones.
“I believe public service is a calling as it requires an expression of dedication, leadership and passion well beyond normal expectations. Correctional employees exemplify the definition of public servant,” said Director Jones. “Now the time has come for all of Oklahoma to remember and honor the sacrifices made by those correctional employees who have died in the line of duty while serving the citizens of Oklahoma.”
Fundraising efforts began immediately in the form of raffles and auctions with 95 percent of the funding coming from ODOC employees and without any state funds being appropriated. Progress was slow but by 2010, the OCEMF was ready to find an architect to finally make the memorial a reality. The OCEMF partnered with Mass Architects who created a well-developed set of drawings and a construction plan. The firm was tremendously generous in its support and willingness to donate their time and expertise.
After many years of planning, fundraising, and hard work, the memorial envisioned by the OCEMF was completed and officially dedicated on July 19, 2013. The dedication ceremony was held on the front lawn of the ODOC Administration building and featured Director Justin Jones, Don Novey of the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation and the OCEMF Board of Directors.
The OCEMF continues to raise funds for beautification of the area around the memorial. Most recently, the foundation contracted with Tony’s Tree Plantation and in February 2015 implemented a new landscaping design in the memorial’s flowerbeds.