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2 TDCJ employees killed in tornado

TDCJ employees Taylor Holbert and Brooke Ivey

Thursday, April 23, 2020
Onalaska Tornado Update

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice is saddened to announce the deaths of two employees as a result of the Polk County tornado. 29-year-old Taylor Holbert was an employee of the Manufacturing, Agribusiness and Logistics Division. He worked over three years as an Industrial Specialist. 27-year-old Brooke Ivey was an employee of the Business and Finance Division. She had worked for TDCJ for over 6 years most recently as a Contracts Specialist in Contracts and Procurement.

Both were killed when the tornado struck near Onalaska yesterday evening causing extensive damage and leaving dozens of others injured and homeless. Two other extended family members were seriously injured and are hospitalized. Holbert’s mother is also a TDCJ employee.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by this tragic act of nature,” said Bryan Collier the Executive Director of TDCJ. “To lose two valued employees so young is especially difficult. TDCJ is a family. We will all stand with the Holbert and Ivey families in this trying time.“

Today there are more than 50 community work squad members from TDCJ responding to four neighborhoods to aid in the cleanup and recovery effort. In addition, there are 31 TDCJ staff and 5 K-9’s now assisting with search and rescue and door to door recovery efforts in Polk County. Staff provided 2-liter bottles of hand sanitizer, cloth masks and gloves to those impacted by the storm.

There are at least another 6 TDCJ employee families who are homeless as a result of the destruction and at least another 30 employees who suffered damage as a result of the storm. Agency leadership is exploring all options to help provide for employees in need.