Begin Main Content Area

 Blog Post

C.O.V.E.R. Members Serve at Flight 93 Memorial

May 02, 2019 12:00 AM
By: DOC Staff

Blog Header Image

Two DOC employees plant a tree at the Flight 93 MemorialC.O.V.E.R. members from SCI Smithfield (Heather Bishop and Crystal Gearhart) joined C.O.V.E.R. members from SCI Laurel Highlands (Alvin Couch, Shiela Fultz, Emily Fultz –daughter of Shiela, Jeanette Kosnosky, Barb Galentine, and Ben Grove) in participating in the 8th Annual Friends of Flight 93 National Memorial tree-planting event. The day included words of reflection and thanks from family members of a Flight 93 passenger, an overview of the reforestation project and a presentation from a historian who researches and writes about the Flight 93 tragedy.

Over the course of two days, close to 500 volunteers worked with trained foresters to plant 13,500 seedling trees on a 20-acre plot of the reclaimed strip mine northeast of the Tower of Voices. The goal of the project is to heal the landscape, create new wildlife habitats and make a living memorial to the passengers and crew members from Flight 93. Throughout the day, volunteers reflected on where they were on 9/11 and how many years later they were bringing life back to the area. Planting the trees made some feel like they were creating a tribute to the fallen heroes, an experience we were honored to take part in.

C.O.V.E.R. was designed to help employees and veterans recover from past traumatic events either in their personal life or a work-related incident. Prison work itself has a nasty habit of desensitizing us. DOC/Parole employees may not recognize how much they have been affected by some of the everyday things they encounter by working where they do. Employees, by attending C.O.V.E.R. sponsored functions such as the tree-planting event or other things in your community, helps them reintegrate into a state of normalcy, frees their minds from the stresses of work and gives them an opportunity to do some good. The tree-planting itself is a way to heal the mind and a landscape, which in a way, can be damaged from a traumatic event. Staff participating in this worthwhile event found the work to be both rewarding and therapeutic.

The C.O.V.E.R. program is highly recommended for those who may be in need of help or even just someone to talk to. The program will not diagnose anyone with any type of mental illness or place any type of stigmatic label on anyone. Instead it helps people recognize symptoms associated with PTSD or becoming overwhelmed by stress. The C.O.V.E.R. program is a support system. C.O.V.E.R. can help any individual by just being someone to talk to or help find the appropriate resources needed to live a life of normalcy and regain control of the things causing life stressors. Program organizers find that the program is better when more individuals participate. The group dynamic allows individuals to recognize that they are not alone and will give them a real sense of comradery.

Share This