SEIU President Mary Kay Henry sent the following message in response to the tragic death of North Carolina Corrections Officer Sgt. Meggan Lee Callahan, an SEIU member.
Corrections Officers all across our country brave some of the toughest working conditions on any job. They put their lives on the line everyday to make our communities safer. I am very sad to tell you that one of those valiant officers was killed last week in the line of duty.
Sgt. Meggan Lee Callahan, a Corrections Officer with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety and a member of SEANC SEIU Local 2008, was attacked and died as she worked to protect her community and her fellow officers.
Sister Callahan’s life was cut short by an inmate at Bertie Correctional Institution in Windsor, North Carolina. Sister Callahan was 29 years old and had worked for the North Carolina Department of Public Safety since 2012.
Our hearts go out to her parents, her two sisters, her fiancé, all her family and friends, and to her brothers and sisters in Local 2008 who knew her as a smart, dedicated, and fun-loving colleague who was a joy to work with.
Sister Callahan’s tragic and unforgiveable death is a reminder for us all that Corrections Officers like Sgt. Callahan face arduous working conditions without the kind of support they need and deserve. They are literally on the front lines of a broken prison system, which puts employee safety at risk.
Not only do we owe them gratitude for their sacrifice, but we must work tirelessly to address the safety, staffing and overcrowding issues that our members continue to face in an already dangerous workplace.
On Sunday, the Michigan Corrections Officers will be dedicating a Fallen Officers Memorial in Lansing, a dedication I will be honored to attend.
The Memorial is a tribute to Corrections Officers who – like Sister Callahan – have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their communities. The Memorial is designed to lift up the work that brave Corrections Officers do every day and remind the public of the perils Officers face everyday to keep them safe.
This Memorial and the tributes that are pouring in to support Sister Callahan’s family are vivid reminders of the work we need to do to make sure our Corrections Officer members know that we have their backs and will fight for the working conditions and support they need to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.
SEANC has set up a memorial fund for any individual or Local who would to donate money to help with funeral and family expenses for Sgt. Callahan.
To make a donation online, click here. You can also mail checks, payable to SEANC with “Sgt. Callahan Memorial Fund” in the memo line, to:
Sgt. Callahan Memorial Fund
1621 Midtown Place
Raleigh, NC 27609
Please share the online donation link on your various social media platforms.
Especially at this time of grief and sadness, we must resolve to do all we can to support our Corrections members and their families. We must recognize the dangers they face every day when they put on their uniforms and we must work to win better working conditions, training and support for these brave public servants.
Mary Kay Henry