Lansing correctional officers who died of COVID-19 remembered as friends, mentors at vigil

Kansas

LANSING, Kan. — A candlelight vigil was held Thursday night to remember two Lansing correction officers who died from COVID-19.

Before that, the public gathered in a drive-thru visitation line to pay respects to George Bernard Robaire, 61, and Fella Adebiyi, 59.

“Anyone would tell you these gentleman are friends and mentors to everyone here,” Lansing Correctional warden Shannon Meyer said.

In interviews since their deaths, families of both men have described what the outpouring support from the prison community has meant to them.

“What they are saying means a lot to us because we had no clue how well respected he was up there,” George’s wife, Susan Robaire, said.

“We’re saying a big thank you to everybody for what they’ve done so for us. We really pray for them that God would protect every one of ’em and keep themselves safe as well,” Fella’s sister, Sheri Adebiyi said.

Corrections officers wore masks at the vigil, hoping to prevent further spread of the virus that’s swept through the prison.

More than 800 inmates and 96 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.

At a time when the Kansas Secretary of Department of Corrections said he wishes he could hug every guard at the prison, on Thursday, he offered them his support.

“It’s a way for all of us to pull together and grieve and then somehow to find a way through this together,” KDOC Secretary Jeff Zmuda said.

Both deaths have been classified as line of duty. Their names will be added to a memorial with seven others who’ve died in the more than 150-year history of the facility.

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