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An employee publication of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

September 2020

RPD Gifts Widow of Chaplain Walterio Rodriguez

Every offender within TDCJ is on a personal journey of rehabilitation, each with its own unique mountains to climb and valleys push through. That road back can’t be walked alone. The family connections and moral foundation that offenders rely on to find success in rehabilitation, in many cases, are personified by a constant presence on the unit: a Chaplain.

Few have more profound impact on the future of our communities. With the help of volunteers and offender families, they bring clarity to the sight of redemption that can so easily be clouded along the way. With every prayer, every heart-to-heart, and every moment of counseling, offenders are able to see what’s possible. So, when the loss millions of people around the world are feeling from the COVID-19 pandemic extends to a Chaplain, that impact becomes undeniable.

Walterio Rodriguez lost his life on August 13th after 11 years of faithfully serving the offender population of the Segovia Unit in Edinburg, Texas. He and his wife, Amy, dedicated their lives to helping the men there reach their potential and see the greater purpose they had in the world.

“Chaplain Rodriguez was highly respected at the unit and he certainly made a profound impact on all those he knew,” said Chris Carter, Director of the Rehabilitation Programs Division (RPD), after visiting the Segovia Unit. “He will be missed tremendously but his legacy will forever live on at the facility.”

As a token of gratitude from the RPD family and all of the lives Rodriguez touched, Carter personally made the trip to Edinburg to meet Amy Rodriguez to present her with a gift – a painting commemorating the dedication Walterio showed to offenders every single day, and a love offering to support the family.

“I wanted to personally meet Chaplain Rodriguez’s family, present them gifts on behalf of the agency and tell them how much his 12 years of service meant,” said Carter of the decision to make the six-hour drive from Huntsville. “That is what families do, show up in the time of need.”

It’s a gesture that sums up the mentality shared within TDCJ, and continues to unify when the world needs it most. Rodriguez dedicated his life to the mission of the agency, something that will forever be held in reverence.

As for his parishioners, Carter believes that Rodriguez’s final message to them would be as powerful as his actions in life were. “He would tell them to keep the faith, continue to be the change you would want to see, and to let God be your light in a dark place.”

Walterio Rodriguez was 67 years old.