For more than one year now, we have been talking about the superheroes who are our front-line workers.

We paid tribute to their sacrifice and showed our gratitude for their service. They faced the challenge of working where they were needed through a global pandemic. And then, just as we began to see hope for the weeks ahead, a tragic act of violence cuts down two of those heroes while they were doing their jobs.

A pall hangs over northeastern Iowa as we reckon with the deaths of two front-line workers — a nurse and a corrections officer — at the hands of prison inmates at Anamosa State Penitentiary.

The Iowa Department of Corrections reported that the attack occurred at about 10:15 a.m. March 23 when two inmates made an attempt to escape through the prison’s infirmary. Lorena Schulte, 50, a registered nurse, and correctional officer Robert McFarland, 46, were attacked with hammers and killed when they tried to stop the prisoners.

While prison violence is not uncommon, it’s been at least 45 years since an Iowa prison employee has been killed by an inmate. This tragedy reminds us that those who serve in correctional facilities put their lives on the line to protect citizens every day.

Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the heroes who perished in the line of duty at the Anamosa prison.

Dubuque Telegraph Herald.

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