In Memory of Sergeant Grace A. Bellamy
On Monday, February 1, 2021, the Georgia Department of Corrections announced that their organization had lost a corrections officer to the ongoing pandemic. Sergeant Grace Bellamy, age 54, passed away due to complications from contracting COVID19 while on duty.
Sgt. Bellamy’s job as a law enforcement officer working in corrections carried a great deal of risk. At the beginning of the pandemic, Americans learned that certain occupations had a higher risk of infection. Despite the danger to herself and her family, Bellamy continued to work to protect her community.
Correction facilities, prisons, and other institutions across the country have experienced a great deal of loss. These facilities were not designed for social distancing. The US has lost more corrections officers in the last year than any other time in history.
Sgt. Bellamy served as a sworn member of the GDC for over nineteen years. Her most recent assignment was at the Wilcox State Prison located in Abbeville, Georgia.
Georgia Department of Corrections
The Georgia Department of Corrections manages all state prisons in the state. Headquartered in Forsyth, the department’s recent expansion allowed for purchasing the former Tift College campus. Formed in 1969, the agency has more than 12,000 employees. The cost to integrate five offices from the Atlanta area onto the Tift Campus came with a more than 45 million bill. Georgia operates 35 state prisons.
According to a study in 2009, the GDC has one in thirteen Georgia residents in its system.
Wilcox State Prison
Bellamy was assigned to the Wilcox State Prison. Located in Abbeville, it is a medium-security prison for men. The prison opened in 1994 and can house up to 1827 inmates. Inmates housed at Wilcox have been convicted of a felony.
Inmates are divided into work crews and work in surrounding county agencies. For example, inmates can find work (supervised) with the Georgia Department of Transportation, fire stations, farmer’s markets, or other community agencies.
Sergeant Grace A. Bellamy leaves behind her family, neighbors, community, and coworkers. GDC Honor guard officers will volunteer to ensure that she receives a celebratory service filled with gratitude from her family, friends, and community.
The Georgia Department of Corrections posted the announcement of the passing of Sgt. Grace Bellamy on their Twitter page. “GDC learned today of the passing of Wilcox State Prison Sergeant Grace Bellamy due to complications of COVID19. Sgt. Bellamy was a dedicated, 19-year veteran of GDC and remained committed to her oath even during these challenging times.”
“We will never forget her commitment to public safety or the state of Georgia. The entire GDC team sends our deepest condolences, thoughts, and prayers to Sgt. Bellamy’s family and loved ones today and in the days and weeks to come.”
ATF Headquarters shared condolences for the family of Sgt. Bellamy. “Our thoughts are with @GA_Corrections, and the family and friends of Sergeant Grace A. Bellamy, who passed away as the result of contracting COVID-19 while on duty.”
Resident Tonya Hall left a message for Sgt. Bellamy on her tribute wall. “Ms. Bellamy, I am so sad to hear of your passing. I will miss speaking with you and the great conversations that we always shared. It was always a pleasure, and I will certainly miss you!”