The ceremony began with posting of the colors, followed by Ally Coscetti singing the national anthem and Executive Assistant Shannon Phelps giving a welcoming speech.
Referring to the motto and emblem on the front cover of the program, Phelps began by saying, “Committed to excellence, forging the future – those six words say so much and that vision has prevailed.”
“FCI Three Rivers has led to the development of so many bureau leaders across the nation including our own regional director and warden. Personally, I am so proud to be part of this exciting history and tradition at FCI Three Rivers. The tradition of exceptional standards for leaders was greatly influenced by the past, especially Warden Philip Spears. We are fortunate to have so many members of the activation staff today, including Mr. Carlyle Holder, who has graciously volunteered to share a few thoughts with us today.”
Holder began by saying, this is a special moment and “I am proud to have been a part of Three Rivers.” Then Holder recited the local motto: The Few, The Proud, The Three Rivers Crowd and asked for a moment of silence to honor the initial warden, Philip Spears, who died in 1999.
“I had the opportunity to be here and train with him and I give him credit for all my success in the bureau. Three Rivers has produced the most wardens and executive staff than any other facility. I was a warden and now I am retired and live in Orlando. This has always been a special place; Three Rivers made me who I am,” Holder said.
Next, Three Rivers Mayor James Liska greeted the crowd with a big “Howdy.”
“I wanted to say a little bit about something Mr. Holder had mentioned; Phil Spears was a mighty man and leader who helped get this facility started. I went through high school in Three Rivers and that man supported our football team, our baseball team, it didn’t matter what it was, he supported our town.
“As mayor of Three Rivers, it is my pleasure to attend this 20-year anniversary celebration. This facility has proven to be a real treasure for the citizens, businesses and the entire city. The staff and inmates have made it possible for us to have a very successful recycle center, a well-maintained community center, a magnificent City Square at Christmas, a new nature trail, and a successful Salsa Festival and much, much more. We are truly grateful for your presence in Three Rivers.”
Liska was followed by the keynote speaker, Gerardo (Jerry) Maldonado Jr., regional director, South Central Region and former FCI-TR lieutenant.
“I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is for me to be here this morning to participate in the 20th anniversary celebration. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the dignitaries and bureau of prison employees. Three Rivers is without a doubt a very special location. Philip Spears definitely impacted this area and as Carlyle [Holder] mentioned, it is: The Few, The Proud, The Three Rivers Crowd.”
He said Aristotle could have been referring to Three Rivers crowd when he said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Maldonado went on to list some of the fiduciary figures from the last 20 years at the institution. He said the building of the institution started in 1989 and when construction was complete they had invested $4 million in land, $46 million for the institution and another $12 million in activation costs. After the first year of operation, in 1992, salary infusion for the area was $13.3 million.
The last to address the crowd was the present warden, Keith Roy. He began by saying, “Wow, I am overwhelmed by how many people showed up. This is the greatest institution in the Bureau of Prisons.”
There was thunderous clapping for a few minutes and then Roy went on: “When I wrote those words, I was a little concerned that I might offend someone. But, then I realized everyone in this audience has contributed to the greatness of this facility; so I knew I was in good standing.
“I have the privilege of serving here but I have only been here a few months. I want to thank the committee and staff, past and present, and especially Jerry Maldonado. I want to thank the community and leaders for supporting this institution for the bast 20 years. The relationship we have with the citizens is exceptional. We look forward to working with Three Rivers for many years to come.”
Roy, too, mentioned the first warden of FCI Three Rivers, Spears. “His leadership ensured a secure future for this facility. You heard a lot of people talk about him. He was a very unique individual and set this institution on the right path.
“Before I close I just want to say how honored I am to serve here as warden. I have been with the bureau for 20 years; I started here as a correctional officer. I see a lot of my former mentors out here. I learned a lot things from those guys and I truly appreciate it.”