On September 17, 2000, correctional officer Alvin S. Glenn was murdered during an escape attempt at the Richland County Detention Center. He was the first correctional officer in over 50 years to be murdered during an escape attempt.
In his honor, the Richland County Detention Center was renamed the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
That's all very good, but speaking as one of his children, I would rather have my father back.
When I told my father, Alvin S. Glenn, that I'm gay, I didn't come out and say it.
I really should have though. My father was a former military man. He served 29 years in the United States Army and had an aversion to being dramatic. No tears, no dramatic pauses, and no beating around the bush. Just say what you need to say and be done with it.
But to say that I was nervous as we drove to the grocery store was an understatement.
"Pop, I said. I don't think you need to worry about grandchildren when it comes to me."
Granted, that this was during the time when I inaccurately thought being gay meant that you could not have a family complete with little rugrats (I say that word with much affection) running all over the place. I figured that statement was the best way the best way to break the news to him.
My father, however, said three words to me that made it all unnecessary:
"I knew that already."
To tell the truth, I was a little shocked. But I really shouldn't have been. No matter how I try, I'm not the most butch fellow in the world.
Maybe it's my diva fascination.
During Halloween in second grade, I borrowed my mother's ratty bathrobe, my aunt's cold cream and went as Bette Davis in the dressing room scene of All About Eve.
When I was in fifth grade, I had a Diana Ross fascination.
By seventh grade, Ms. Ross was replaced by Stevie Nicks.
So needless to say that I'm not exactly the "straight-acting" gay man type.
But still, my father saying that he already knew that I'm gay floored me. Apparently he and my younger brother had been discussing the matter for some time before I came out to him.
After the revealing that he already knew of my sexual orientation, my father proceeded to tell me that while he does not particularly understand why I am gay, he accepted me as his son.
I didn't have a problem with his honesty because of two reasons. I wanted my father to be honest concerning how he felt. If you can't be honest with family, then who can you be honest with?
Secondly, he never rejected me. This was probably because my father and I didn't spend that much time together as we should have. We only really got to know each other during my first year in college.
Still, the main thing was the fact that he made it clear that I was still his son. Forget this mess about "God doesn't want you to be that way," or "how could you do this to the family."
By the way, my father wasn't that squeamish about my relationships either. I even got to introduce him to the man I was dating at the time.
Today, the day of my father's death, haunts me and it will continue to do so until my dying day. But it doesn't get me as sad as it used to.
I hate how my father was taken from me but I'm blessed to have known him and to have spent as much time as I did with him.
I was very lucky to have Alvin S. Glenn as my father.
He was a pretty cool guy.