GREENVILLE – Arthur “Arfur” C. Bender passed away peacefully at home on Monday, December 20, 2021. He was born on May 30, 1949, in Catskill to the late Harold and Elaine Labuda Bender. He was raised in Hannacroix and graduated from Greenville Central School in 1968.
Arthur joined the Navy and was Honorably Discharged in 1972. Art then worked at Hannay Hose Reels in Westerlo as a painter, and then retired from General Electric Plastics/ Sabic, where he worked as a technician. He was a member of the Del Majors Bowling League, having bowled for 48 years, served as the president of the league, and bowled a 300 on Veterans Day in 2007. He was also a member of the Greenville American Legion Post 291 for 51 years. In his younger years, he was a Boy Scout, he played high school soccer and volleyball, and worked on the Rundell farm baling hay.
Art enjoyed hunting, vacationing in Maine every fall, sunbathing and walking on the beach, woodworking, and especially spending time with his grandchildren. He loved walking in nature, sleigh riding and building snow forts with his granddaughter, Sadie Rose, playing video games with his grandson, Jakob, and teaching his grandsons all about deer hunting. He so enjoyed sitting and relaxing in his backyard by the firepit during summer evenings and was proud of his salmon and white ‘53 Ford Crown Victoria with a Thunderbird motor.
Arthur is survived by his wife of 51 years, June “Pidge” Bender; his son Donald (Leona) Bender; his daughter, Debra (David) Erhart; his grandchildren, Tristan Pettit, Darren and Sadie Rose Bender, and Jakob Erhart; and his brothers, Harold (Kathi) and Robert Bender.
Calling hours were held on Thursday, December 23, from 11 a.m. to 1pm at the A.J. Cunningham Funeral Home, 4898 State Route 81, Greenville, followed by a funeral service at 1pm. He will then be buried with Military Honors at the Greenville Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society, 1 Penny Lane, Latham, NY 12110.
The family would like to thank the staff of the Community Hospice for the care and respect shown to Art and his family. Condolences can be posted on ajcunninghamfh.com.
By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
COXSACKIE — Union officials are renewing calls to curb violence at state correctional facilities after a melee broke out Aug. 1 in the mess hall at Coxsackie Correctional Facility.
State officials confirmed there were at least 10 officer injuries during the incident.
The confrontation began at around 4:35 p.m. when an inmate, who has been in prison four separate terms beginning in 1994, tried to “smuggle” food out of the facility’s mess hall, which is not permitted, according to a statement from the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association.
“The officer gave the inmate direct orders to dispose of the food,” according to a statement from the union. “The inmate initially complied and threw out the food, but then became disruptive and verbally abusive to the officer.”
A second officer responded and ordered the inmate to submit to a pat frisk, but when the inmate ignored the order, the officer placed him in a body hold and pushed him up against the wall with the help of a third officer.
The inmate struggled, attempting to strike the officers with his elbows, and was forced to the floor but fell on top of one of the officers, causing him to hit the back of his head on a steel door, according to the union.
“While on the floor and still combative, the inmate struck the officer in the face and head, causing the back of his head to strike the steel door a second time,” union officials said.
Additional officers responded to assist in subduing the inmate and a sergeant was kicked in the right knee by the inmate.
“After a violent and brief struggle, staff were able to apply handcuffs and the inmate became compliant,” according to the union. “The inmate was brought to his feet by staff.”
After the struggle ended, over a dozen other inmates surrounded the officers and five inmates charged at them, according to the union.
“During one of the group assaults, an inmate struck an officer in the face and head, causing him to fall backwards and hitting his head on a table,” union officials said. “Another inmate jumped on an officer’s back and attacked him before staff were able to put him in body holds and pull him off the officer.”
After order was restored, the inmates who attacked the officers were removed from the mess hall and the facility was locked down.
At least 10 staff members were injured in the melee, according to the state.
The officer who struck his head on the steel door was taken by ambulance to Albany Medical Center for injuries to his head, face, knee and elbow. A second officer was treated at a local urgent care facility for elbow, hand, neck and head injuries.
Both officers did not return to duty that day.
The five other injured officers were treated on site and remained on duty.
In addition to staff that were injured in the attack, a sergeant and officer sustained “significant blood exposure” while they were removing one of the inmates from the mess hall and were taken to Albany Medical Center for treatment.
The state’s Department of Corrections and Community Supervision confirmed Thursday that at least 10 personnel were injured in the incident and acknowledged there has been an increase in violent incidents in facilities statewide.
“As the department continues to battle a rise in violent conduct within its facilities, an incident Monday involving incarcerated individuals at Coxsackie Correctional Facility assaulting staff resulted in injuries to at least 10 security personnel who responded,” according to a statement from DOCCS. “Four staff members were taken to an outside hospital for further treatment with injuries ranging from head trauma to blood exposure and four staff members with pain and swelling remained on duty.”
As of Thursday morning, all staff had returned to work with the exception of one who has been discharged from the hospital and is recovering from a head injury, according to DOCCS.
After the incident, a “full frisk” was conducted the next morning at the Coxsackie facility. The incident remains under investigation.
“Violence such as this makes the work of the department’s Prison Violence Task Force more crucial than ever to maintain the safety and security of our facilities,” according to DOCCS. “The department has zero tolerance for violence within our facilities and any individuals found responsible for this incident will be disciplined and be referred for outside prosecution.”
Union officials are calling for the state to take steps to tamp down on violence in state correctional facilities.
“With mid-term elections less than four months away, members of the state Senate and Assembly should know their voting records will have consequences with the citizens across the state,” NYSCOPBA Mid-Hudson Region Vice President Chris Moreau said. “Their failure to protect the men and women of NYSCOPBA will resonate in the voting booths this fall. For the staff at Coxsackie Correctional Facility who had to endure this latest violent and vicious attack, and the thousands of officers who work in facilities across the state, those officers know what is on the line when they vote.”
Republican lawmakers have sponsored legislation that would repeal a 2021 law that limits the use of solitary confinement in correctional facilities to 15 days.