A unique partnership of Girl Scouts, Marines and inmates at Pitchess Detention Center turned into a win-win-win situation last week.
Representatives from the USMC visited PDC on August 24 and picked up 80 rifle range stools that were built for them by inmates in the jail’s vocational wood shop.
When LASD Deputy Miguel Ruiz, a gunnery sergeant in the Marine Corps Reserves, took his Marine Corps reserve unit to the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow for annual rifle training last year, he noticed that many of the range stools were in disrepair and others needed replacing. He shared his concerns with Sgt. Gerri McCorkle at PDC to see if the Sheriff’s Department could help.
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McCorkle assigned inmate students to build new stools for the Marine Corps, using scrap wood donated by Paramount Studios. As a Girl Scout Gold Award advisor, she also arranged for Santa Clarita Valley Girl Scout Ashley Keith to paint and stencil the stools for her Girl Scout Gold Award project.
The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award in Girl Scouting. It symbolizes outstanding accomplishments in the areas of leadership, community service, career planning and personal development. In earning the Gold Award, Ashley joins an elite group comprising only 5.4% of the eligible Girl Scouts who gain this achievement.
The vocational wood shop is one of many inmate vocational training programs offered by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at PDC. Custody Assistant Paul Smith instructed the students in building the stools. Recently, LA Works, a Los Angeles County WorkSource Center (www.laworks.org), was contracted to provide California certified vocational workshop instructors for each of the vocational training programs. Custody Assistant Smith will continue to work with the new wood shop instructor to provide relevant workplace instruction to inmates.
Ruiz is one of almost 800 members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who serves in the United States Reserve forces. He is currently assigned to the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.