INDIANAPOLIS – Phil Slavens of Brownsburg has been pretty busy for the past few weeks. He retired from the Plainfield Correctional Facility after 44 years of service and was just presented with the Sagamore of the Wabash award by Gov. Mike Pence. The ceremony was held in the governor’s office.
“I was almost embarrassed,” Slavens said. “It's really due to the people around me.”
During his time with the Indiana Department of Corrections, he served in several positions including correctional officer, correctional counselor, sergeant, and assistant superintendent.
“I didn’t know I was starting a career,” he said. “I started in August of 1969 and my goal was to work there until Christmas so I could buy gifts. I ended up staying 44 years.”
On Aug. 15, staff from around the department gathered for a retirement party where he was presented an award for his years of service and a state flag accompanied by a certificate for meritorious service by IDOC Commissioner Bruce Lemmon.
“It has been a pleasure and an honor to work with Phil Slavens during my career,” Lemmon said. “The department and the State of Indiana have benefited greatly from his leadership and dedication. He will be deeply missed.”
Lemmon was also present when the governor presented the Sagamore of the Wabash award to Slavens.
“The commissioner, who I’ve known for most of my life, told me about the Sagamore during my retirement party,” Slavens said. “I was blown away.”
The Sagamore of the Wabash is an honorary award created by the state of Indiana during the term of Gov. Ralph F. Gates (1945 to '49). It is the highest honor an Indiana governor can bestow on a resident. Among those who have received Sagamores have been astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, politicians, and citizens who have contributed greatly to “Hoosier” heritage.