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North Carolina corrections officer uses training to prevent suicide.

Corrections Officer Charles N. Donaldson was monitoring the segregation cells at the Sandhills Youth Center in McCain, N.C., one day last July when he saw an inmate hanging from a bedsheet.

After quickly notifying another officer of the emergency, Donaldson pinned the unconscious offender against the cell door to support him as he removed the noose. "He was blue when I got him down," Donaldson recalled.

Donaldson then administered mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Emergency medical technicians credit Donaldson's quick action in administering CPR with saving the young offender's life.

"In an emergency like that, it comes automatically--you do what you're trained to do," Donaldson says.

Donaldson says Sandhills Superintendent Waylon Collins also deserves some credit because he ensures that every officer at the center annually receives CPR training.

"Chuck has proved himself day in and day out as the kind of employee that we all seek to be," says Collins.

Before coming to work for the North Carolina Department of Correction in December 1977, Donaldson served for 28 years as a soldier in the Army, a tenure that included tours of duty in Korea and Vietnam.

After his retirement from the military, Donaldson started his corrections career at the Morrison Youth Institution in Hoffman. In April 1978, he transferred to Sandhills Youth Center, a minimum security facility for young male offenders age 18 to 22. He says he enjoys corrections because it involves "working with young adults--similar to working in the Army."

Donaldson was named the state's 1992 Employee of the Year. He says that while he was honored by the award, he gives much of the credit to his wife, Ida Belle. "She's been my helpmate for 36 years," he says. "If I get any recognition--she's responsible for it." The couple has five children.

Donaldson's biggest hobby is raising homing pigeons, some of which he donates to a local pigeon racing club. He has raised pigeons on and off since his childhood on an Ohio farm. He now has more than 50. "I leave everything behind, go out and just let them fly," he says.
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Title Annotation:Best in the Business; Officer Charles N. Donaldson of the Sandhills Youth Center
Author:Spertzel, Jody K.
Publication:Corrections Today
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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