Above photos by Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor

By Alexandra Powell, CDCR PIO
Office of Public and Employee Communications

The crowd at the 2017 Medal of Valor Ceremony was filled with family members beaming with pride as their loved ones approached the stage to accept their medals. The final honoree of the ceremony was Deuel Vocational Institution Correctional Officer Kevin Machado, receiving a Medal of Valor – the department’s highest award. After posing for a photo with Secretary Scott Kernan, he beckoned for his girlfriend and their young son to come take part in the special moment.

Watch the ceremony (public):

Watch the ceremony with Internet Explorer (employee):


Kernan encouraged many of the honorees to include their family members in snapshots that commemorated their sacrifice and heroism.

Machado was at a Costco store in Modesto last June when a man wielding a knife began threatening employees and shoppers. Disregarding his own safety, Machado approached the man, identified himself as an off-duty peace officer and ordered the man to drop his knife as he drew his concealed weapon. The man ignored the orders and began lunging at Machado, jabbing the knife in Machado’s direction. Machado fired a single shot, wounding the attacker and stopping the assault.

When asked what was going through his mind during the terrifying incident, Machado responded, “The store was full of people – including children. And I knew if I wasn’t there, I would want someone else to step in and protect my family. I knew I had to do something.”

Above photos by Terry Thornton, Deputy Press Secretary

Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., was in attendance to help kick off the annual ceremony at Creekside Christian Church in Elk Grove.

“These individuals have demonstrated valor and courage in the face of real danger,” said Brown. “The Medal of Valor we give today is given to people who in the face of danger for their own lives met the test and did what they had to do. They let duty prevail over fear.”

The Medal of Valor is earned by employees distinguishing themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional service.

This year’s second Medal of Valor recipient is CDCR Transportation Unit Correctional Sergeant Timothy Reynolds. Reynolds was with his unit, transporting 31 inmates from Pelican Bay State Prison, when they came across a four-vehicle crash near Willits with multiple victims in imminent danger. Reynolds stopped the bus, grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran toward a vehicle that was engulfed in flames. While he attempted to extinguish the blaze, the vehicle exploded, making a rescue impossible. Reynolds then rescued several victims in adjacent vehicles, including one victim who was unable to walk, and two more who were trapped in a car as it teetered on the edge of a 60-foot drop.

“My dad was a highway patrolman. I did ridealongs with him when I was about 13 to14 years old.” Reynolds said. “He instilled in me, years ago, to always help somebody who can’t help themselves. And that just followed my path in life. I knew that nobody in that predicament could have helped themselves. My first thought was let’s see what we can do to help.”

John Herrera, Associate Warden and Chief of the Statewide Transportation Unit added, “The entire Statewide Transportation Unit is proud of the heroic actions of Sergeant Reynolds. He was confronted with a dangerous situation and entered into it not thinking of the accolades he could receive, but rather to help save other persons, all of whom were strangers to him. It takes a special person to risk their own safety and wellbeing for someone you don’t know.”

Above photos by Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor

There was no denying the pride in Secretary Kernan’s face as he greeted each honoree after they accepted their awards.

“The Medal of Valor is the highest honor we can bestow upon our officers, and I am so proud of the selfless actions and dedication to the community of our honorees,” said Kernan. “Their courage, bravery and commitment under extreme conditions went beyond the normal demands of correctional service. For all our recipients today, your hard work embodies the spirit of our department, and I am privileged and honored to work beside you.”

In addition to the two Medal of Valor recipients, 65 other employees were honored with Gold, Silver and Bronze Corrections Stars, Unit Citations and Distinguished Service Medals. The honorable achievements included stopping at a traffic accident to extinguish a special needs school bus was that was on fire, saving a baby who was choking and couldn’t breathe, resuscitating a man who collapsed on a golf course and evacuating residents from a burning apartment complex.

Custody staff members weren’t the only employees recognized for bravery  – Fred Bird, Plumber II at California Correctional Center, received a Silver Star for confronting a home intruder, tackling the intruder as he tried to flee, and pinning him down until sheriff’s deputies arrived. Kristina Smith, Associate Governmental Program Analyst at Chuckawalla Valley State Prison, received a Bronze Star medal for helping to rescue a woman trapped underneath a vehicle after a crash. Once the woman was pulled to safety, Smith ran to the aid of the woman’s baby, whose car seat was ejected from the vehicle during the crash.

The ceremony also included CDCR’s Employee Recognition Program, which honored Howard Moseley of the Office of Legal Affairs as Administrator of the Year; the Electronic Health Care Record Deployment Team as Health Care Professional of the Year; Steve Marshall as the Division of Adult Parole Operations Professional of the Year; DaiNette Bowens and Lynn Arbios as Division of Juvenile Justice Professionals of the Year; Jessica Mazlum, Landon Bravo and Ryan Souza of the Division of Rehabilitative Programs as Rehabilitation Professionals of the Year; Correctional Counselor II Jennifer Kuehn and Correctional Lieutenant Shane Brown as Correctional Supervisors of the Year; Correctional Officer Ashley Giusto as Correctional Officer of the Year; and Warden M. Eliot Spearman of High Desert State Prison as Executive of the Year.

Above photos by Ike Dodson, CDCR PIO

Watch a video regarding the Employee Recognition awards (public):


Watch a video with Internet Explorer regarding the Employee Recognition awards (employee):


A complete list of 2017 award winners:

Medal of Valor

The Medal of Valor is the Department’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 in the lives of others.

Kevin Machado, Correctional Officer
Deuel Vocational Institution

Timothy Reynolds, Correctional Sergeant
CDCR Statewide Transportation Unit

Gold Star Medal

The Gold Star Medal is awarded 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.

Dameion Renault, Community Resource Manager
Sierra Conservation Center

Rory Rickman, Correctional Officer
California State Prison, Sacramento

David Matthews, Correctional Officer
California State Prison, Sacramento

Michael Gomes, Correctional Sergeant
Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp

Silver Star Medal

The Silver Star Medal is awarded 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 him/herself by performing in stressful situations with exceptional tactics or judgement.

Andrew Asjes Jr., Correctional Officer
Kern Valley State Prison

Daniel Glover, Correctional Officer
Sierra Conservation Center

Brian Berghorst, Correctional Officer
Deuel Vocational Institution

John Mendiboure, Correctional Lieutenant
Avenal State Prison

Allen Aldon, Staff Services Analyst
Office of Peace Officer Selection – Southern Selection Center

Fred Bird, Plumber II
California Correctional Center

Bronze Star Medal

The Bronze Star is awarded 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.

Cavin Horton, Correctional Sergeant
Kern Valley State Prison

Sergio Castrejon, Correctional Officer
Kern Valley State Prison

Joseph Harmon, Correctional Officer
Kern Valley State Prison

Jonathan Homer, Correctional Officer
R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility

Randy Turner, Correctional Sergeant (Two Bronze Star Medals)
San Quentin State Prison

Lisa Fuette, Correctional Officer
San Quentin State Prison

Robert O’Brien, Correctional Captain
Folsom State Prison

Lonnie A. Watson Jr., Correctional Officer
Pleasant Valley State Prison

Quentin Brantley, Correctional Sergeant
Chuckawalla Valley State Prison

Leticia Espinoza, Correctional Sergeant
Chuckawalla Valley State Prison

Rod Harvell, Correctional Officer
California State Prison, Solano

Kristina Smith, Associate Governmental Program Analyst
Chuckawalla Valley State Prison

Kenneth Thomas, Parole Agent III
Division of Adult Parole Operations – Southern Region

Daniel Kirk, Correctional Counselor II
Sierra Conservation Center

Christopher Sanders, Correctional Officer
Folsom State Prison

Mark Evans, Correctional Sergeant
Correctional Training Facility

Stanley Wright Jr., Correctional Sergeant
R.A. McGee Correctional Training Center

Anthony Marquez, Correctional Sergeant
R.A. McGee Correctional Training Center

Salvador Velasco Jr., Correctional Sergeant
Calipatria State Prison

Gilberto Jora, Correctional Officer
California State Prison, Sacramento

Mark Barra, Correctional Sergeant
Calipatria State Prison

Gloria Cano, Registered Nurse
Ironwood State Prison

Greg Henry, Stationary Engineer
Sean Brown, Correctional Officer
California State Prison, Corcoran

Lee Brannon, Parole Agent I
Oakland Parole Complex

Mario Rios, Correctional Officer
California Correctional Institution

Tony Carbajal, Correctional Officer
Central Transportation Hub

Unit Citation Medal

The Unit Citation is awarded for great courage displayed by a departmental unit in the course of conducting an operation in the face of immediate life-threatening circumstances.

Corey Ringer, Correctional Sergeant
Joseph Eyerman, Correctional Sergeant
Robert Curry, Correctional Sergeant
Steve Mackey, Fire Captain
Arthur “Duke” Juanitas, Fire Captain
Elliott Hull, Fire Captain
Mark Runyan, Correctional Officer
Peter Reyersbach Jr., Correctional Officer
Rodney Lazard, Correctional Officer
Dale Bunch, Correctional Officer
Paramjit Kaur, Registered Nurse
Folsom State Prison

William McCart, Correctional Officer
Larry Middlesworth, Correctional Officer
Jeffrey McCullough, Correctional Officer
Mark Friend, Correctional Officer
Justin Byers, Correctional Officer
Dominick Avila, Correctional Officer
Brittany Alkire, Correctional Counselor I
High Desert State Prison

Hien Le, Parole Agent III, Assistant Unit Supervisor
Calvin Holmes Jr., Parole Agent III
Riverside GPS Parole Unit

Distinguished Service Medal

The Distinguished Service Medal is awarded 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.

Jack Hansen, Correctional Officer
California State Prison, Sacramento

Ronald G. Frantz, Parole Agent III – Senior Investigator
Board of Parole Hearings – Offender Investigations Unit

Brantley Choate, Superintendent
Office of Correctional Education

Kelly Medina, Correctional Administrator
Female Offender Programs and Services

Kelly Santoro, Warden
North Kern State Prison

Employee Recognition Awards

Executive of the Year

Eliot Spearman Sr., Warden
High Desert State Prison

Administrator of the Year

Howard Moseley, Chief Deputy General Counsel
Office of Legal Affairs

Rehabilitation Professional of the Year

Ryan Souza, Associate Director Program Support
Landon Bravo, Chief of Program Operations
Jessica Mazlum, Chief of Compliance and Population Placement
Division of Rehabilitative Programs

Division of Adult Parole Operations Professional of the Year

Steve Marshall, Chief Deputy

Correctional Officer of the Year

Ashley Giusto, Correctional Officer
California Institution for Women

Correctional Supervisor of the Year

Jennifer Kuehn, Correctional Counselor II
Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran

Shane Brown, Correctional Lieutenant
California State Prison, Solano

Division of Juvenile Justice Professional of the Year

DaiNette Bowens, Parole Agent II, Specialist
N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility

Lynn Arbios, Executive Secretary
Northern California Youth Correctional Center

Healthcare Professional of the Year

Electronic Health Record System Deployment Team:
Mary Melizza, EHRS HIM SME
Jennifer Wright, EHRS HIM SME
Michelle Williams, EHRS HIM SME
Debra Caster, EHRS HIM SME
Jason Whitby, EHRS Pharmacy SME
Jean-Marc Manosane, EHRS Pharmacy SME
Lisa Holcomb, EHRS Mental Health Scheduling SME
Steven Cartwright, EHRS Mental Health SME
Kevin Kuich, EHRS Mental Health SME
Unique Martinez, EHRS Medical SME
Ryan Namba, EHRS Medical SME
Janita Taylor, EHRS Medical SME
Veela Lymuel, EHRS Nursing SME
Jodie Hurn, EHRS Nursing SME
Mike Pedersen, EHRS Nursing SME
Rebecca Ramirez, EHRS Nursing SME
Cynthia Ricker, EHRS Nursing SME
Gance Ly, EHRS Team
Toni Richey, EHRS Team
Nick Faragasso, EHRS Team
Runora Francesconi, EHRS Team
Maria Fritz, EHRS Team
Grace Jeyaseelan, NCPR HQ, EHRS Nursing SME
Jim Elliott, CEO of CIW, Region IV
Laura Coontz, SRN-II, Region III ECHOS SME Coordinator
Chris Brady, RN – CMC, Region II
June Buckholtz, RN, Region II
Patty Gonzales, NCPR, Region II
Theresa Kimura-Yip, CEO of FSP, Region 1
Josh Albertson, SRN-II, Region 1 ECHOS SME Coordinator
Debra Amos-Terrell, Chief Nurse Executive
Janene DelMundo, EHRS Team
John Rekart, Chief Psychologist, EHRS Mental Health SME
Eric Lee, M.D., Lead Physician on ECHOS team, Region IV