Thousands attend memorial for fallen prison guard

Richland Twp., Cambria County, Pa. - Thousands of prison guards from across the country attended a memorial service Wednesday, paying their respects to fallen SCI-Somerset Sgt. Mark Baserman.

Baserman died on February 26 from injuries he received after an inmate assaulted him on February 15.

The touching tribute took place at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown campus. More than 500 SCI-Somerset prison guards attended the memorial, along with thousands of law enforcement and first responders.

"Mark was my friend. He was my partner for years. I've been with him for the last two weeks and we'll miss him dearly," said Paul Bomboy, a paramedic with East Hills Ambulance, where Baserman used to work.

During the ceremony, coworkers, friends and family remembered Baserman as a caring son, devoted husband and animal lover.

"I've known him on the night shifts. More or less just exchange stories between calls. He was always a joker and more or less a quiet man," said Natalie Barlick-Reed, an AMED paramedic.

"An unfortunate thing happened and I hope everybody remembers him for the kind, loving person that he was," said Jeff Macey, an EMT with East Hills Ambulance.

Speakers at the memorial said Baserman devoted his life to serving others: first in the U.S. Army, then as a first responder and finally, as a corrections officer.

"We're all a big family. We all work together. When something like this happens, everybody hurts. Most everybody here today is a public servant. They do the same thing. The goal is everybody stand together, stand strong and do our job to help other people," Bomboy said.

Department of Corrections officials said they are reviewing safety procedures at prisons statewide and are debating whether or not to ban prisoners from owning work boots.

Baserman's coworkers said the best way to honor him, is to carry on their jobs with respect, fairness and professionalism.

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