Samuels stated, “Every day when our staff walk through the doors of our 119 prisons around the country, they put the safety of the American people above their own. They knowingly put themselves in harm’s way to protect and keep our communities more safe and secure.”
He ended his remarks by stating, “Let us give meaning, every day, to our commitment to do everything we can to keep our staff safe as we carry out our mission to protect the American public.”
Samuels read remarks from Attorney General Eric Holder, who was unable to attend. In remembering the fallen, the Holder said “Their extraordinary patriotism and remarkable courage have made our country not only safer – but stronger.” He went on to state, “... let us resolve to carry forward their legacy, and let us keep working to fulfill the core promise of security, opportunity and justice – that became the cause of their lives, and that will continue to shape the Bureau’s mission for years to come.”
Samuels was appointed director of the bureau in 2011. A Birmingham native, his first assignment with the prisons system was at FCI Talladega as a correctional officer in 1988. Staff members at FCI are also having observances this week.
Twenty five employees of the Bureau of Prisons have lost their lives in the line of duty. One of those fallen heroes is Gregory Johnnie Gunter, a 1970 graduate of Talladega High School, who also first went to work in corrections in FCI Talladega. Gunter lost his life on Christmas Day December 25, 1982, while assigned to FCI Petersburg, Virginia, as a Maintenance Mechanic General Foreman. He is buried at Hepzibah Cemetery.
The fallen are recorded on the bureau’s website at The stories of the fallen can be found at www.bop.gov/about/history/heroes.jsp.