The memorial for the Blair County corrections officer who was killed while still in uniform earlier this month, was held today. Crispin Havener was there and tells us how her family and the entire community is remembering her.
A community in mourning today as a solemn and emotional tribute was paid to corrections officer Rhonda Russell.
“My mother was nothing less than a true hero.”
Blair County Corrections Officer Rhonda Russell was not just the following corrections officer, although the ultimate sacrifice is rare.
“It is very real. But a mother, she had to be superwoman. She had to be put up with us, knuckleheads.”
“But what I miss the most is the way you would look at me after all these years, like I was the only one in the room that mattered” .
As hundreds gathered inside the Blair County Convention Center to pay their final respects to Russell, they got to know her as more than just a caring colleague.
“I’m grateful and we are grateful for her dedication, her commitment and her bravery.”
But as someone who made a difference to so many people,
“One inmate posted about her on social media, She touched my life when I was in a very dark place, the woman wrote. Because of people like her, I turned my life around.”
While they were traditional ceremonies for a life cut short in the line of duty, those who spoke on her behalf say she was more than that.
“We honor a woman that devoted her life to others a woman so selfless, gentle. so strong strong, and protective.”
A fitting farewell to a woman that those who spoke of her said gave so much of herself, even before getting the ultimate sacrifice.
“I wish I could make one phone call to heaven. I would call you up. And I would tell you just how proud we are of you.
One of the things we heard most throughout the ceremony was the pride that a lot of people had in her, both as a corrections officer and as a mother and family member.
Both will never be forgotten by those who knew her. In Altoona, I’m Crispin Havener.