Back The Grey group holds fundraiser to support families of correctional employees

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WAUPUN — A fundraiser benefit was held at Our Bar Sunday afternoon to help families of current and former employees of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

The event was hosted by Back The Grey, an organization dedicated to supporting Correctional officers and employees after the arrests of nine employees last month.

On June 5, Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt announced charges against nine Waupun Correctional Institution employees including former warden Randall Hepp. This was followed by a protest on June 9 by friends and families of those incarcerated in the prisons to protest against what they perceive to be cruelty on the side of Waupun Correctional Institution.

A counter protest was held at the other end of the prison by a group of people involved with WCIStrong, who believe that the charges are overblown and that this attack on the prison system will only make it harder for correctional officers to do their job.

They also feel that those involved at the state level of the Department of Corrections knew about the problems going on in the prisons, did nothing to solve them, and are letting the employees take the fall for it.

The Back The Grey organization started on June 10, only five days after the arrests.

Inspiration for the name came from the use of different colored stripes in the center of the United States flag for professions such as Police and Fire, which use Blue and Red, respectively. Correctional officers and their families have adopted grey as the color representing their profession.

The fundraiser went from noon to six and included a bake sale, raffle baskets and silent auction, as well as selling can coozies, wristbands, and yard signs. The yard signs included a Thin Grey Line theme and other signs that said “Madison Knew” and #WCIStrong and #LHSStrong.

Part of the fundraiser was also to help the family of Corey Proulx, an officer who died from his injuries following a fight at Lincoln Hills Correctional School on June 24.

The bar was packed throughout the afternoon with a large crowd standing outside as well.

Two members of the organization attended the City Council meeting Tuesday night to thank City leadership for “having their backs” as correctional employees and families, stating that the response to the event far exceeded their expectations.

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