By Lt. James Crandall, AA/PIO
California Correctional Center
During the annual Corrections USA conference in Las Vegas earlier this year, two California Correctional Center employees were honored for going above and beyond.
Officer Dawn Hershberger and Fred Bird, Plumber II, both received awards during the conference’s medal of valor awards ceremony.
Officer Hershberger received the Image Award for her dedication and hard work in the fight against human trafficking.
While off duty, she has worked to combat the horrors of child sex trafficking. She has been a central component in the development and delivery of humanitarian services to children in need throughout California and the country.
Her tireless work led to an invitation to the State Capitol where she was a guest speaker for the “Not in my City, Not in my State” campaign to bring attention to this ongoing tragedy. She also played a key role in the organization of a triathlon held at Lake Almanor in August 2015 to raise funds to fight child sex trafficking.
The event was a success and generated $12,900 in donations. She again was instrumental in organizing the event for 2016, which doubled in size with 248 challengers (up from 97) and 100 volunteers (up from 25), raising $26,453 for this worthy cause.
Bird received the Civilian of the Year Award for his part in stopping a home invasion in Janesville.
On Aug. 5, 2016, around 6 p.m., Fred was driving through Janesville on the way to the town’s only store when he spotted a suspicious looking man walking along the roadway.
As he passed, he saw the man get into a car. Bird was acquainted with the people who own the car, which was parked in front of their house on the town’s main street.
He didn’t feel right about what he saw so he stopped and backed up. Then he saw the man get out of the vehicle, nervously look around, then go into a house.
Bird got out of his car and went along the side of the house and heard the woman screaming from inside the home. Entering from the back door, he ran inside the house where he was met by the intruder.
The man grabbed a heavy mug and began threatening Bird and the homeowner. Undeterred, Bird chased the man to the front door. The intruder spun around and started swinging the mug, but Bird was able to tackle him.
They fell over the front porch handrail and Bird subdued him using “submission type holds,” according to a report. The homeowner and neighbors called 911. Lassen County Sheriff’s deputies arrived and took the man into custody.
Bird said he didn’t realize the gravity of the situation until later. The woman was home alone at the time of the invasion. If Bird hadn’t intervened, her husband could have come home to find his wife dead or severely injured.