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Lewes, Delaware
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December 3, 1999     Cape Gazette
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December 3, 1999
 

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CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, December 3 - December 9, 1999 - 61 Smith family's contributions to DOC span three generations In 1950, Noah B. Smith started something with the Delaware De- partment of Correction (DOC) that would span 65 years and three generations. Smith, a lifelong Georgetown resident and now 83, spent 29 years with the DOC. He rose from the position of correctional officer at the old Sussex County prison to deputy warden of the current Sus- sex Correctional Institution. "I loved working for the Department of Correction," said Noah B., as he is affectionately called. "I al- ways believed people should be given a chance to change. It was very satisfying to see someone leave prison and succeed on the outside." At the same time, Smith was rising through the DOC ranks, he was raising four children of his own and welcoming nine grand- children into the family. Little did he know that a son and two grand- sons he once bounced on his knee would continue his law enforce- ment legacy, Son Robert, 51, of Georgetown, manages the Sussex Correctional Institution (SCI) farm. It's a 475- acre produce farm; some of it is tended by inmates. Working on the farm teaches offenders strong work ethics and a skill they can use once they are released from incarceration. Robert started in 1973 as a correctional officer and had stints supervising SCI's furni- ture shop, visiting room, commis- sary and library. "I saw how much Dad enjoyed his work," Robert said. "It looked like something I'd like doing and I've been here since '73." Two of Robert's sons, Robert II and Christopher, have also fol- lowed in granddad's footsteps, each beginning careers this decade with the department. Robert, 30, of Seaford, went to college to study criminal justice. He always knew he wanted to work in law enforcement. "Like my grandfather, I like the chal- lenge of trying to help offenders," he said. "Whether it's encouraging an inmate to finish his education or helping another recognize the need for treatment, the job gives me a lot of satisfaction." After starting as a correctional officer in 1991, Robert has quickly risen through the ranks to sergeant. He is a member of the prison's Es- cape Recovery Team. In 1997, while working at the Sussex Work Release Center, he received a commendation for helping to cap- ture i0 walk-aways from the fa- cility. It was just the opposite for Christopher, 26, of Millsboro. He never thought he'd follow his fa- ther and grandfather into correc- tions work. But he found the DOC Smith family members are (1.r) Christopher, Robert II, Robert Sr. and Noah. when teaching didn't work out. Now, he wishes he'd gotten in sooner. "It's the best thing I've ever done," he said. "I love it; es- pecially the camaraderie among the staff and the feeling that at the end of the day, I've accomplished something." After becoming a correctional officer in 1997, it took Christopher just 18 months to receive a promotion to corpo- ral. Both sons agree on one thing - Submitted photo they aspire to go as far as they can in the department. As Noah B. enjoys his retire- ment by gardening and visiting with his nine grandchildren and 15 great-gi'andchildren, he watch- es a son and two grandsons con- tinue what he-started almost 50 years ago. 'Tm proud of all three," said Noah B. "To have my son and grandsons follow in my footsteps is one of the greatest compliments I've ever received." And the Smith family-DOC partnership may extend to a fourth generation, once Robert and Christopher's children grow up. The Department of Correction is currently recruiting for correc- tional officers and other positions. Those interested in seeking em- ployment with DOC should call 302-739-5601. Lakeside livinq !