CDCR Honors Employees at Annual Medal of Valor Ceremony

Seventy-three praised for courage and conduct above and beyond call of duty

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today honored dozens of employees during its 28th annual Medal of Valor Ceremony. Seventy-three staff members from institutions, parole and various divisions received awards recognizing high levels of bravery and conduct.

“Every day at CDCR, you find many examples of courage and commitment among our employees,” said CDCR Secretary Cate. “Today, we are honoring the bravery and performance that goes well above the call of duty. I am proud to lead an organization made up of people willing to risk their own personal safety to help someone else.”

Seventeen employees received the Medal of Valor this year. Fifty-six other staff members received the Gold Star, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and other awards.

One of the recipients of this year’s Medal of Valor, the department’s highest award, was Fire Captain Scott Long of San Quentin State Prison. He responded in the middle of the night to a call for help from two people in the water near the prison. He descended 75 feet down a steep seawall and found the two people in the water another 25 feet below, one of them at imminent risk of drowning. At great risk to himself, Capt. Long swam to the couple and rescued them.

Other Medal of Valor recipients include a parole apprehension team intervening to save the lives of their fellow agents, a High Desert State Prison officer who, despite being attacked himself, saved the life of a colleague, and a team of custody staff at Pelican Bay State Prison who bravely responded to a coordinated attack on officers by several inmates.

For the first time, CDCR added an Employee Recognition Program to the Medal of Valor presentations. Directors in each CDCR division recognized employees in their areas for outstanding work that contributed to the mission of CDCR and the State of California.

A complete list of 2012 award winners follows:

MEDAL OF VALOR

The Medal of Valor is CDCR’s highest award, earned by employees distinguishing themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional service.  The employee shall display great courage in the face of immediate life-threatening peril and with full knowledge of the risk involved.  The act should show professional judgment and not jeopardize operations or the lives of others.

Parole Agent Bruce Baenziger, California Parole Apprehension Team, San Diego
Parole Agent Benjamin Somera, California Parole Apprehension Team, San Diego
Parole Agent Sean Torphy, California Parole Apprehension Team, San Diego
Correctional Officer Glenn McCoy, High Desert State Prison
Fire Captain (A) Scott Long, San Quentin State Prison
Correctional Sergeant Charles “Chuck” Essex, Pelican Bay State Prison
Correctional Officer Wesley Aanrud, Pelican Bay State Prison
Correctional Officer Cecil Arispe, Pelican Bay State Prison
Correctional Officer Nathan Bourdlaies, Pelican Bay State Prison
Correctional Officer Byron Gardner, Pelican Bay State Prison
Correctional Officer Paul Hicks Jr., Pelican Bay State Prison
Correctional Officer Michael Johnson, Pelican Bay State Prison
Correctional Officer Michael Knight, Pelican Bay State Prison
Correctional Officer Clayton Maxwell, Pelican Bay State Prison
Correctional Officer Henry “Hank” Nichols, Pelican Bay State Prison
Correctional Officer Thomas Sheets, Pelican Bay State Prison
Correctional Officer Joshua Taylor, Pelican Bay State Prison

GOLD STAR MEDAL

The Corrections Star (Gold) medal is the department’s second-highest award for heroic deeds under extraordinary circumstances.  The employee shall display courage in the face of immediate peril in acting to save the life of another person.

Correctional Officer Armando Vera, Wasco State Prison
Correctional Officer Paul Davis, Deuel Vocational Institution

SILVER STAR MEDAL

The Corrections Star (Silver) medal is the department’s third-highest award for acts of bravery under extraordinary or unusual circumstances.  The employee shall display courage in the face of potential peril while saving or attempting to save the life of another person or distinguish himself/herself by performing in stressful situations with exceptional tactics or judgment.

Correctional Sergeant Ron Crother, Kern Valley State Prison
Correctional Officer Patrick Briggs, California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran
Correctional Sergeant Le’Vance “Tony” Quinn, California State Prison, Sacramento

BRONZE STAR MEDAL

The Corrections Star (Bronze) is the department’s award for saving a life without placing oneself in peril.  The employee shall have used proper training and tactics in a professional manner to save, or clearly contribute to saving, the life of another person.

Correctional Sergeant Brandon Green, California State Prison, Sacramento
Correctional Officer Jered Lawrence, Chamberlain Creek Conservation Camp
Correctional Sergeant Stephen Ledesma II, Correctional Training Facility
Office Technician Betsy Orosco, Inmate/Ward Labor Program, Region I
Parole Agent I Micheal Salvaggio, Division of Adult Parole Operations, Region IV
Chief Engineer Anthony Schumacher, California Correctional Center
Correctional Officer Moray Cross, Mule Creek State Prison
Correctional Officer Anthony Marquez, Mule Creek State Prison
Correctional Officer Jeffrey Gold, Mule Creek State Prison
Correctional Officer Armando Ayala, Mule Creek State Prison
Fire Captain James Cerini, San Quentin State Prison
Assistant Fire Chief Gerald Maresh, San Quentin State Prison
Correctional Officer Gary Legaspi, Kern Valley State Prison
Correctional Officer Tu Nguyen, Kern Valley State Prison


DISTINGUISHED SERVICE MEDAL

The Distinguished Service Medal is for an employee’s exemplary work conduct with the department for a period of months or years, or involvement in a specific assignment of unusual benefit to the Department.

Office Technician Linda Tucker, Folsom State Prison Youth Diversion Team

UNIT CITATION

The Unit Citation is for outstanding service to the Department.

Relief Sergeant Irma Hermosillo, California Rehabilitation Center
Correctional Officer Kennedy Holmes, California Rehabilitation Center
Registered Nurse Elizabeth Arciaga, California Rehabilitation Center
Registered Nurse Hortensia Pop, California Rehabilitation Center
Registered Nurse Karen Vuong, California Rehabilitation Center
Correctional Fire Captain Geoff Loveless, Correctional Training Facility
Correctional Fire Captain Mathew Ludwig, Correctional Training Facility
Correctional Sergeant Joseph Ranucci, Correctional Training Facility
Correctional Sergeant Bradford Miller, Correctional Training Facility
Correctional Sergeant Michael Mowery, Correctional Training Facility
Correctional Officer Greg Bowlay-Williams, Correctional Training Facility
Correctional Officer Gregory Fors, Correctional Training Facility
Correctional Officer Karen Johnson, Correctional Training Facility
Correctional Officer Vincente Morales, Correctional Training Facility
Correctional Officer Pacifico Pailma, Correctional Training Facility
Correctional Officer Marshall Ragan, Correctional Training Facility
Correctional Officer Melissa Schwartz, Correctional Training Facility
Correctional Officer Chris Whitman, Correctional Training Facility
Correctional Counselor III Stan Norman, Folsom State Prison Youth Diversion Team
Correctional Counselor I Diana Viale, Folsom State Prison Youth Diversion Team
Correctional Sergeant Carl Kropp, Folsom State Prison Youth Diversion Team
Correctional Officer Chris Fallon, Folsom State Prison Youth Diversion Team
Correctional Officer Michael Koeth, Folsom State Prison Youth Diversion Team
Correctional Officer Kenneth Mack, Folsom State Prison Youth Diversion Team
Correctional Officer Michael Peet, Folsom State Prison Youth Diversion Team
Correctional Officer Hugh Reed Jr., (Posthumously) Folsom State Prison Youth Diversion Team
Associate Governmental Program Analyst Catalina Diaz, Folsom State Prison Youth Diversion Team
Office Technician Linda Tucker, Folsom State Prison Youth Diversion Team

EMPLOYEE RECOGNITION

CORRECTIONAL SUPERVISOR OF THE YEAR

Correctional Lieutenant Darren Chamberlain, Correctional Training Facility

CORRECTIONAL OFFICER OF THE YEAR

Correctional Officer Donald Heuser, High Desert State Prison
EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR

Superintendent Erin Brock, Northern California Youth Correctional Center

MEDICAL/DENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR

Dr. Ananda R. Murthy, DDS, Region IV Headquarters

REHABILITATION PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR

Vocational Instructor (Welding) Clayton Dynes, Avenal State Prison

ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR

Chief Jay Atkinson, Offender Information Services Branch, Office of Research

DIVISION OF JUVENILE JUSTICE OFFICER OF THE YEAR

Senior Youth Correctional Counselor Ray Knight, N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility


DIVISION OF ADULT PAROLE OPERATIONS STAFF MEMBER OF THE YEAR

Parole Administrator I Lori Macias-Price, Division of Adult Parole Operations, Headquarters

SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD

Parole Agent III Keri Berkler, Board of Parole Hearings

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