05/06/04 — Staton named top volunteer

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Staton named top volunteer

By Jack Stephens
Published in News on May 6, 2004 2:00 PM

The Rev. Joseph M. Staton of Goldsboro was among 20 nominees for the annual volunteer of the year award from the N.C. Department of Correction.

Staton has led religious services at Wayne Correctional Center on Stevens Mill Road since state funding for a chaplain's position was eliminated in 2002.

The prison's superintendent, Carla Okonek Smith, said Rev. Staton has made an impact although he has served only a little more than a year.

"His accomplishments are second to none," Mrs. Smith said, "and his dedication, concern and self-sacrifice" were why he was nominated.

Since Feb. 9, 2003, Rev. Staton has performed 27 worship services on the first or third Sundays each month before a total of 1,382 inmates.

He also offered 396 hours of one-on-one counseling with inmates.

Rev. Staten has performed 65 inmate baptisms, held six communion services and funded most of those services.

Rev. Staten also has solicited and obtained robes for the inmates' choir. He also donated large-print Bibles for sight-impaired inmates.

He has raised more than $2,800 in his own church from bazaars and magazine sales to fund the prison's Community Resource Council.

The winner of the state volunteer award was Harriet Jenkins of Raleigh. She has volunteered for six years at Raleigh Correctional Center for Women.