Criminal Justice students raise over $9,000 for memorial scholarship

From left to right: Josh Cook and Miguel Moldez, CJSA students; Dr. Annette Trimbee; James Bloomfield, Union of Canadian Correctional Officers President; Dr. Michael Weinrath; Phil Polvorosa, Stony Mountain Institution; Rainshyne Morpheus, CJSA President; Janalee Bell-Boychuk, Stony Mountain Deputy Warden; Robert Bonnefoy, Stony Mountain Warden; holding giant cheque — © UWinnipeg

From left to right: Josh Cook and Miguel Moldez, CJSA students; Dr. Annette Trimbee; James Bloomfield, Union of Canadian Correctional Officers President; Dr. Michael Weinrath; Phil Polvorosa, Stony Mountain Institution; Rainshyne Morpheus, CJSA President; Janalee Bell-Boychuk, Stony Mountain Deputy Warden; Robert Bonnefoy, Stony Mountain Warden — © UWinnipeg

The University of Winnipeg Criminal Justice Students’ Association has raised over $9,000 to help establish a memorial scholarship in honour of two former Stony Mountain Institution employees killed in the line of duty. The group presented the funds to UWinnipeg President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Annette Trimbee last week.

Corrections Officers Werner Friesen and John Wendl were killed during a riot at the institution in 1984. Criminal Justice professor Dr. Michael Weinrath quietly worked on developing a memorial scholarship in their name for years, but it took an ambitious group of Criminal Justice students to set the plans in motion. Students raised funds through a bake sale, a “Bud ‘n’ Spud” dinner, and selling “correctional officer bears.”

“When Dr. Weinrath told me about the officers last fall, I was shocked. I had no idea this had happened literally up the street from us,” said CJSA president RainShyne Morpheus. “In speaking with numerous people from all aspects of my life — ranging from young adults to the elderly — I was surprised to hear that no one else knew it had happened either. It was frustrating to see so many members of the general public taking for granted the risks that correctional officers deal with every shift.”

Morpheus hopes that in addition to easing the financial burden on future Criminal Justice students, the scholarship will teach students about officers Friesen and Wendl, and the sacrifice that corrections officers make.

“Working on this scholarship in memory of these two officers puts the human element into a sharper perspective and reminds me that at the end of the day, these were just two men who had their own families waiting at home for them,” said Morpheus. “The level of commitment and risk that correctional officers expose themselves to should always be appreciated and remembered.”

For more on officers Friesen and Wendl, as well as the CJSA’s efforts to honour them, read this Winnipeg Sun story.

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