Memorial honors corrections officers

Published: Tuesday, March 31 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Officer Cody Lougy and his daughter Paneisha take a look at the items on display as the Utah Department of Corrections pays tribute to Lt. Fred F. House and formally dedicated its new Heritage Hall display, located inside the building bearing House's name.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

DRAPER — Ann House thinks about her husband every day.

"Time has a very interesting way of passing," she said. "In some ways, he could come walking in the door, and I'd just say, 'Where have you been?' Then in other ways, it seems like it's been forever ago."

It was 21 years ago that Lt. Fred House died in the infamous standoff at the Singer-Swapp property near Marion, in Summit County. On Monday, she shook hands, gave hugs and visited with family and friends at the training academy named for her late husband, as a new memorial for corrections officers was unveiled.

"I'm so proud of Fred and the work that he did," she said. "I hope it's a great memorial to other officers and people who work in the area of public safety."

The Utah Department of Corrections recently renovated the Fred House Training Academy, upgrading it and adding new features on Ann House's recommendation — including new colors, new furniture and even a meditation garden for corrections cadets to relax in. In the lobby, the Heritage Hall is a memorial to Utah's prison history and the officers (like House) who sacrificed their lives in the call of duty.

"It is hallowed," said Tom Patterson, the executive director of the Utah Department of Corrections. "It is a place where officers and their families can come and reflect on their legacy of their service and the sacrifices."

The bombing of a church by members of the polygamous Singer-Swapp family sparked the 13-day standoff in January 1988. A shootout ended with House's death. In the years since, members of the Singer-Swapp family have been released from prison. Addam Swapp, convicted of manslaughter for his role in the standoff, will face the parole board again in 2012.

"It broke our hearts that we lost Fred," said Bob Bryant, who was the FBI's on-scene commander during the siege.

During Monday's ceremony, family, friends and fellow corrections officers shared tributes and remembrances of House. His brother, Tom House, called him a "defender of the underdog." He and his son both work in corrections.

"Fred willingly gave the ultimate service to the citizens of Utah," said family friend Will Fowlke. "I miss Fred."

E-MAIL: bwinslow@desnews.com

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