Congratulations to Damascus Way for receiving the Minnesota Corrections Association’s President’s Award handshakes

The President’s Award is given to programs that demonstrate creativity, resourcefulness, effectiveness and innovation.

“It was totally unexpected. Initially, when I got the call from MCA I thought it was a prank, but as I listened further, I realized she was serious,” said Dan Sepeda, Director of Damascus Way Reentry Center – Rochester.

“It is a prestigious award to receive from the Minnesota Corrections Association. I am so proud, it is confirmation that we are doing things right in Rochester,” said Sepeda.


Craig Fruen, Dan Sepeda and Robyn Wood, Olmsted County Agent

“The integrity with which they run their program and any information we get from them is always so reliable. They have open communication with us on their concerns,” said Robyn Wood, a senior Community Corrections agent in the region. “They were the first people I thought of when I read the description of the President’s Award. I know it’s a lot of hard work; they are there at nights, on weekends, on holidays, so they deserve this award,” said Wood.

Creativity and Resourcefulness

Robyn Wood nominated Damascus Way – Rochester for this award because she believes the staff thinks outside the box, proving its creativity and resourcefulness.

“They have all of these connections in the community and they help our guys get jobs, permanent housing, and connect guys with mentors and churches,” said Wood.dan-at-podium

“It was humbling to be nominated by Robyn, to know that someone we partner with every day, recognizes the valuable work we do,” said Sepeda.

Committed to Keeping the Community Safe

Wood says she is encouraged by the staff at Damascus Way – Rochester’s commitment to keeping the community safe, while introducing the parolees into the community by partnering with churches to host Christmas parties and mentorship programs.

Damascus Way – Rochester strives to utilize community resources and build community relationships to better the lives and futures of its residents while providing them with employment and housing opportunities.

Community Resources and Relationships

“Finding affordable housing for these guys in Rochester is one of our biggest struggles. But amazingly, one of our staff members and one of our mentors have taken it upon themselves to provide additional housing resources for our residents,” said Sepeda.


Craig Fruen, Dan Sepeda and Tom Roy, Commissioner of MN DOC

Another favorite partnership with Damascus Way – Rochester is Recover Renew; a recovery program that helps guys find an AA or NA group and helps them to find sponsors.

“They hold sober, safe events for guys to learn how to have fun without drugs and alcohol,” said Sepeda.

“Damascus Way – Rochester’s staff are the on-the-ground folks who help our guys to be successful. They see clients for hours a day, and help connect them with the right resources: housing, jobs, churches, mentors,” said Wood.

Damascus Way Executive Director Craig Fruen said, “We truly share this award with all of our friends and supporters from all over the state.
The individuals, churches, employers, and officials we partner with, provide us with the means to be so successful.”

podiumDamascus Way Reentry Center – Rochester is honored to accept MCA’s President’s Award, as it continues to creatively and innovatively expand its resources and be effective in the work of changing lives.