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High 5: Correctional Officer Makes a Difference for Utah State Prison Inmate

DRAPER, Utah – Living behind bars isn’t easy, but finding hope within them is a true blessing.

“Officer Priddy is simply one of the most humble, helpful, selfless human beings that someone in my position could ever hope to come across,” said Evilia Cardenas. “She is a true meaning of what a mentor is.”

She’s a mentor Cardenas never expected to find while serving her time at the Timpanogos Women’s Facility at the Utah State Prison.

“I would have given up, and I’m easily a max inmate if I want to be, and I don’t want to be.”

Like many inmates behind bars, Cardenas comes from a rough background on the streets, growing up surrounded by drugs, guns and a gang member lifestyle. She had little-to-no guidance, until now, thanks to Officer Jenica Priddy.

“I have nothing but men in my family, so having a female actually take interest in me and help me become a better person and woman is tremendous,” Cardenas said.

Priddy’s actions have had such an impact on Cardenas that she wanted to do something in return to show her appreciation to a woman she has come to admire and respect. So she wrote to KSL, nominating Officer Priddy for a High 5.

Priddy read the letter for the first time on her own before hearing it from the words of the writer.

“It’s just awesome that I can hopefully bridge a gap for when they are actually out, and they can go to law enforcement when they actually need them and that can kind of help them in the future,” Priddy said.

It’s a future Cardenas is now looking forward to, with a new outlook on life and on law enforcement.

“From the bottom of my heart I just thank you,” she said. “I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now had you not helped me.”

While hearing those words is rewarding enough for Priddy, there’s a little more: a night’s stay at the Anniversary Inn for some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

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