BONIFAY - Holmes Correctional Institution Warden Walt Summers and Assistant Warden Jerry Kelley addressed the Bonifay Kiwanis Club as the guest speakers at the club's September 20 meeting.

Both talked about what the prison system means to small towns and reiterated the facility's desire to foster a positive partnership with the community.

"We want to be good neighbors and good partners," said Warden Summers. "We send our work crews out to the city and county each day, and since January, we have been able to save Holmes County about $302,417 in labor costs."

Work crews have remodeled the county Emergency Operations Center, helped with the replacing and maintenance of the county's wooden-structure bridges, and maintained recreational complexes, local parks, and right of ways on city-owned property. The crews have also constructed a livestock wash area at the agricultural center for the local 4-H club and helped with preparation and cleanup for events such as the Northwest Florida Championship Rodeo and DownHome Street Fest.

Holmes CI hopes to also help those re-entering the community from prison system to do so with a new lease on life by giving them the tools and training to succeed.

"Some inmates have never been given the opportunity for an education or failed at education the first time around," said Summers. "By helping them get an education, it gives them a leg up and will hopefully reduce recidivism.

Holmes CI offers a GED program, special education programs and three vocational programs: auto body, tech support services, and welding.

Since January, the facility has awarded 29 GEDs and 62 vocational certifications.

Summers also reminds the public that Holmes CI is looking for new hires as well.

"FDOC is still a career of opportunity, and we are looking for good, qualified people to help fulfill our mission and endeavors."