Honor Guard salutes Ore. officer

Idaho and Ore honor guards
Idaho and Oregon honor guard members

Last month members of the Idaho Department of Correction’s Honor Guard teamed up with the Oregon Department of Correction’s Honor Guard to honor the life of a Snake River Correctional Institution officer who died in a boating accident in March.

“The experience was very rewarding,” says Larissa Pfeifer, a member of the Honor Guard and a psycho-social rehabilitation specialist at Idaho Maximum Security Institution. “It was an honor to work with our counterparts from the Oregon Department of Corrections.”

Ricky Flores, 42, went missing on March 21 when the 24-foot-long jet boat he and two other off-duty correctional officers were in capsized in the Snake River six miles north of Hells Canyon Dam.

Flores’ body was found three-and-a-half weeks later downstream from where the accident happened. His two colleagues made it to shore and survived.

Five days before Flores’ body was found, his family held a memorial service for him at the Elks Lodge in Caldwell.

In addition to Pfeifer, five other IDOC Honor Guard members performed at the service. They were:

• Tia Borg, IMSI corporal
• Lacey Graham, North Idaho Correctional Institution sergeant
• Misty Spiers, South Idaho Correctional Institution corporal
• Crystal Sharette, SICI-CWC food service officer
• Matthew Thomas, District 3 probation and parole officer
• Craig Leigh, D-3 case manager and drug and alcohol rehab specialist.

Leigh and Flores grew in Parma and attended high school together. 

“He started his career with the ODOC shortly after I started with the IDOC, and the few times we would run into each other we would always say, ‘How did two nice guys from Parma end up in prison?, ’” Leigh says.

Leigh says Flores was generous and well liked. “Ricky was one heck of a nice and caring guy. He loved his family and job very, very much.”

Pfeifer says the presence of the Honor Guard at the event served several purposes.  It was a way to honor Flores’ life, support his family in their time of need and strengthen the bonds between correctional professionals.

“By attending this ceremony, we showed camaraderie with ODOC staff and correctional staff in general, which is important because we have a tough job sometimes and need to stand by our brothers and sisters in corrections,” Pfeifer said.

Leigh says it was difficult for him to perform at his friend’s memorial service, but he takes his service on IDOC’s honor guard seriously.

“What stands out to me is that the IDOC came to help out in this manner,” Leigh said, “What a great agency to work for and to know our Honor Guard is ready at a moment’s notice to fulfill this need!”

Story published: 05/09/2014
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