West Virginia Department of Homeland Security honoring correctional officers who died of COVID-19

West Virginia

The West Virginia Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is honoring two correctional officers who died of COVID-19 by adding their names to its Capitol memorial for those who died in the line of duty. (Photo Courtesy: West Virginia Department of Homeland Security)

CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The West Virginia Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is honoring two correctional officers who died of COVID-19 by adding their names to its Capitol memorial for those who died in the line of duty.

Cpl. Mark Rustemeyer, 58, and Lt. Delmar Dean, 49, both died of COVID-19 in the early months of 2021. Rustemeyer died on Jan. 2 while under treatment and Dean was hospitalized and later died on Feb. 13.

Rustemeyer served at the Saint Marys Correctional Center in Pleasants County from 1998 up until his death. Dean was with the WV Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation for more than 20 years and was serving at the Northern Regional Jail in Marshall County.

Homeland Security Jeff Sandy authorized the issuance of the department’s Freedom Pin to the families of both Rustemeyer and Dean during a Tuesday ceremony at DHS’ West Wing headquarters.

The “Freedom Pin” was introduced in 2017 with the support of Gov. Jim Justice to honor the families of deceased Homeland Security “heroes,” and to “federal, state, county and city employees and citizens.”

Sandy says that the Freedom Pin is given to those, “who have excelled in protecting West Virginia from threats to our way of life from natural disasters and both foreign and domestic enemies.”

“It is my hope that with this symbol of patriotism, the great state of West Virginia shall never forget their heroism while providing for the safety and security of our state,” Sandy said.

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