We can only be so lucky as to work with people we genuinely enjoy and respect. They are often what make the difference between a fulfilling job and one that isn’t. That’s exactly why Brandy May’s colleagues are taking this opportunity to recognize her not only for the stellar work she does with offenders at Millhaven Institution, but for the relationships she has formed with her colleagues as well.
“Brandy is just a phenomenal person and CSC is lucky to have her,” says Berniece Bos, assistant to the Assistant Warden, Management Services at Millhaven. “It takes a special kind of person to do this work, and Brandy excels at it.”
Brandy is a correctional program officer in segregation interventions. Her job is to motivate and reintegrate offenders from segregation. According to Lisa Wlock, programs manager at Millhaven and Brandy’s supervisor, Brandy has been successful in her role and has been recognized many times for her outstanding results and the significant changes she has made working with offenders. Most recently, Lisa and two of her staff decided to nominate Brandy for two more formal recognitions – The Dan Rowan Memorial Award and the Commissioner’s Commendation Award.
Daniel Rowan was an employee of the Correctional Service of Canada who died on November 12, 1999 while en route to Pristina, Kosovo. Dan's life was cut short when the United Nations plane in which he and 23 other humanitarian aid workers were traveling crashed into a mountain ridge, killing everyone on board. The award recognizes an employee who, in the eyes of his or her peers, exemplifies excellence and leadership not only in the workplace, but in his or her everyday life as well.
The Commissioner’s Commendation Award recognizes deeds or activities that go beyond the demand of normal duties, consistent demonstration of exceptional judgement and dedication to the values of CSC, the highest standards of conduct or humanitarianism, and an exceptional and sustained effort and commitment throughout a person’s career with CSC. Brandy was nominated for this award because of her work with a particularly high-risk, violent offender. She was successful in helping him leave segregation just a few months ago - a significant achievement given his 30-year-long incarceration with time spent in both segregation and the Special Handling Unit (SHU). Her influence on him was significant, he says.
“Brandy is willing to take the time that not too many people are. I wish that what she’s made me realize now I would have known 25 years ago.”
And he is not alone. Another offender says Brandy “listens, is non-judgemental, and supportive.” Another adds “she really does care about us. She makes us feel that we are not just bad people no matter what we have done.”
Looking through the nomination letters written about Brandy, it’s clear to see how respected and appreciated she is by her colleagues as well.
“From the time I first met her, I was struck by how genuine she is,” wrote Bruce Somers, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Correctional Operations in the Ontario Region. “She always puts others ahead of herself and has more energy and passion for some of the most difficult cases that have ever been incarcerated. She fundamentally believes that human behaviour can be changed. She is an exceptional, honest employee and a true champion for social justice.”
Lisa, along with two program officers in the programs department (Donna Stickles and Pam Davison) shared similar sentiments in their letter.
“Brandy is a valued team member and viewed by her peers as being principled, mature, and innovative. She is dedicated to the values of CSC and performs her duties with the utmost professionalism and ethical standards of conduct. Whether she is at work or in her everyday life in the community, she personifies excellence and leadership while serving as a positive role model for others.”
Brandy’s nomination was accepted and she will receive the awards at a formal ceremony on September 20th. Her colleagues couldn’t be more thrilled for a woman they say is pure kindness.
“Her smile. Her gentleness. Her kindness. Everything about her makes her an outstanding person,” says Berniece. “In a place like this it’s easy to get down and to stop saying hello to people. But not Brandy. She’s always here to wish you a good day and to check up on you to make sure you’re doing ok. I know the offenders feel the same way as well.”
Let’s Talk would like to congratulate Brandy on her formal recognitions. Thank you for your dedication and outstanding service to CSC.