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Sheriff Ashe to Be Honored by HCC

HOLYOKE — Hampden County Sheriff Michael J. Ashe Jr. will be honored with a Distinguished Service Award at the Holyoke Community College (HCC) commencement on May 28.

In a letter informing Ashe of the award, HCC President William Messner wrote, “your tireless work on behalf of inmates to bring greater educational opportunities over the past 30 years is a shining example for the region.”

The Education Program of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department offers comprehensive educational services in its various facilities and in community-based education centers. More than 4,600 offenders in the custody of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department have earned their GED/HiSET high-school equivalency diplomas during Ashe’s tenure as sheriff.

“One of the characteristics of the profile of the typical inmate who is brought to us is poor educational attainment,” Ashe said. “We offer the challenge and opportunity for them to better themselves educationally, in the same way we do with substance-abuse issues, job readiness, anger management, victim impact awareness, etc. What we are always seeking to do is lessen the baggage that is holding people down so that they can reach their potential as positive, productive, law-abiding citizens.

“I accept this honor not really for myself,” he went on, “but for the people of Hampden County who have supported our education program; the staff who has labored so passionately, unheralded, to bring educational opportunity to those in our custody; and for all the men and women who have risen to the challenge and opportunity of our education programs to better themselves and their lives.”

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