The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and Governor Jerry Brown recently honored 48 employees during the department’s annual Medal of Valor Ceremony.
Governor Brown had praise for the award winners and their tireless dedication to public safety as Tuesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.
Employees were recognized for extraordinary bravery and conduct above and beyond the call of duty, often in lifesaving incidents where public safety was at risk.
“These men and women exemplify what it means to serve the people of California,” said Governor Brown. “On behalf of all Californians, we honor their courage, commitment and resolve.”
Awards were presented by CDCR Secretary Matthew L. Cate and senior department executives at the 27th annual ceremony, which was sponsored by the California Correctional Supervisors Organization.
“CDCR employees statewide are truly committed to protecting public safety,” said Secretary Cate. “That commitment is embodied by the employees honored today for acts of true heroism. These brave employees gave of themselves, and some even placed their own lives in jeopardy to save another.”
The awards presented ranged from the Distinguished Service Award to the prestigious Medal of Valor.
In many instances, the recipients saved the life of other employees, inmates or private citizens as they responded to emergencies. Among the actions recognized by the awards were an unselfish kidney donation that spared the life of a stranger; a quick response that saved the life of three children involved in a car accident and; decisive action by parole agents in subduing an attacker, preventing harm to juvenile offenders attending a rehabilitation classroom exercise.
Correctional Lt. Jesus S. Coronado of Calipatria State Prison was awarded the department’s Medal of Valor, the department’s highest award, bestowed upon an employee who displays “great courage in the face of immediate life-threatening peril, and with full knowledge of the risk involved.”
While driving home from work, Coronado witnessed a vehicle plunge into a canal. As the car and occupants floated toward a dangerous drop off point, Coronado entered the swift-moving water and pulled three small children and their mother from the vehicle.
The responding California Highway Patrol Officer said that had it not been for his heroic actions, the lives of the children and their mother would have been lost. Coronado placed his own personal safety at risk, exemplifying selfless service, bravery and courage, meeting the criteria for the Medal of Valor.
The list of 2011 award winners also included the Corrections Star (Bronze), which is the department’s award for saving a life without placing oneself in peril. According to the criteria, 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 Officer Rebecca Rutledge of the Sierra Conservation Center was a Bronze Medal recipient.
The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard each weekday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47am.
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