Correctional officer's family keeps memory alive

LE GRAND, Calif.

Jose Rivera was stabbed to death by inmates inside the Atwater Federal Prison in June of 2008.

Jose Rivera excelled on the football field and in the classroom at Le Grand High School before joining the Navy and then becoming a correctional officer. But his promising life was cut short when investigators say two inmates stabbed the 22-year-old to death inside the Atwater Federal Prison two years ago this month.

Now Jose's family is honoring his memory by giving scholarships to two Le Grand High seniors who also aspire to serve their communities.

The Rivera family presented the five hundred dollar scholarships to Elias Leon and Andres Zaragoza during an awards breakfast ahead of their graduation. Terry Rivera says she chose the young men based on their good grades, involvement in athletics, and because her son actually wanted to be a highway patrol officer. What she didn't know is that Elias was friends with Jose.

Both young men say they want to make their families and their community proud, just like Jose did. Now as they pursue their goals, Jose's family is still demanding new safety measures for correctional officers and attending court hearings as prosecutors seek the death penalty for his accused killers. But on this day, Terry Rivera finds some comfort knowing these bright young men will help carry on her son's legacy.

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