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New Plaque at Lompoc Post Office Honors Fallen Corrections Officer Scott Williams

The Lompoc High School alum and former Marine was fatally stabbed in 1997 by an inmate at the federal prison complex

Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex staff stand with Rep. Lois Capps and the plaque honoring their fallen colleague Scott Williams, who was killed by an inmate in 1997. The post office in Lompoc is named in Williams’ honor.
Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex staff stand with Rep. Lois Capps and the plaque honoring their fallen colleague Scott Williams, who was killed by an inmate in 1997. The post office in Lompoc is named in Williams’ honor. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

A new plaque at the Lompoc Post Office will serve as a fitting tribute to and another reminder of a federal corrections officer killed by an inmate nearly 20 years ago in Lompoc, speakers said Thursday at an unveiling ceremony.

More than 100 people, about half of whom currently work or formerly worked at the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex, gathered Thursday morning on the sidewalk in front of the post office on West Ocean Avenue for a ceremony revealing the plaque to be installed inside. The sign outside the facility will remain unchanged.

Corrections officer Williams, 30, was fatally stabbed on April 3, 1997, at the U.S. penitentiary in Lompoc by an inmate who also wounded three others.

“His work ethic, his devotion to public service will never be forgotten from this moment on and that’s why we recognize his contribution here today,” said Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara. “The naming of this post office here in Lompoc after Scott is a fitting tribute to a man who gave so much of himself to keep us all safe in addition to giving so much of himself to his family.”

Williams’ widow, Kristy, plus two their daughters, Kaitlin and Kallee, now adults, attended the ceremony.

“Today’s dedication brings us all together to mark a new beginning and name for our post office,” Kristy Williams said. “Our family couldn’t be more proud and honored to be here with all of you.”

She also noted their first granddaughter, Raelee, 2½, was in the audience. Her middle name is James, the same as her grandfather’s.

“Sadly, Raelee won’t grow up with her grandfather. But she will grow to know what an amazing man he was," Kristy Williams said. "And in the years to come she will feel the love and the pride in our community and in this building."

Scott Williams had graduated from Lompoc High School, attended Allan Hancock College and enlisted in the Marine Corps, serving during Operation Desert Storm. Among multiple honors he received, Williams was named Marine of the Year before he left the military.

Kristy Williams said she first met her husband when they were both in high school. 

The plaque honoring federal corrections officer Scott Williams. (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

“He wasn’t just my husband,” she said. “He was my best friend.”

He died working a job he loved, she added.

The post office isn't the only local landmark bearing Williams’ name. 

A section of Highway 1 from the main gate of Vandenberg Air Force Base to the Santa Lucia Canyon is named for Williams. A park at the prison family complex also honors Williams, and a facility used for training at the Lompoc federal prison site also recognizes the loss.

Capps said each of these landmarks is “nothing more than an extension of our gratitude for his service and his commitment to our community” and a reminder about the bravery of those who work in the prison.

Capps spearheaded the legislation that led to President Barack Obama signing the law in December to name the facility as Federal Correctional Officer Scott Williams Memorial Post Office Building. 

Frank Campo, a former prison employee, first raised the idea to Capps more than two years ago, he recalled. Since the family lived in Los Alamos at the time Williams was killed, Campo asked if that facility would be appropriate, but Kristy Williams suggested Lompoc due to their deep roots in the community.

Launching the legislation was not an easy task, Campo said, explaining every representative in California had to support the proposal.

“It takes a lot to get a post office dedicated for a fallen hero,” added Michael Martino, U.S. Postal Service manager of post office operations for the area stretching from Simi Valley to San Ardo. “It doesn’t happen every day, and it does in fact take an act of Congress.”

Many people enter the facility each day and now will see the memorial plaque, Martino said.

“It’s great that there’s going to be something in there, a plaque, that will remind them of an individual who gave his life to serve the country and to serve the community,” Martino added. “It’s going to stand forever as a tribute to the service that he provided and, to some degree, a recognition of the work all of you correctional officers do every single day.”

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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