Honorees include one Medal of Valor recipient, 43 other recognitions
At its 2022 Medal of Valor Ceremony, CDCR honored 44 people for their bravery in responding to crises and life-threatening situations as well as exemplary work of benefit to the department and the community. Watch the 2022 ceremony.
“Today’s awards demonstrated the impressive reach CDCR staff honored today have through their courageous acts and an unyielding commitment to making a positive difference in people’s lives,” said CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison. “Quickly responding to dangerous incidents and even putting their own lives at risk to save others means our communities are safer as a direct result of the dedication, humanity, and valor CDCR staff show day after day.”
One employee was awarded the Medal of Valor, CDCR’s highest award earned by distinguishing themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional service. North Kern State Prison Correctional Officer David Tapia received the Medal of Valor for stopping an attack on a Bakersfield government building and saving lives inside after the assailant set the building on fire.
Employees from nearly all disciplines and professions statewide received awards at Creekside Christian Church of Elk Grove. In addition to the Medal of Valor, CDCR awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold Corrections Stars; Distinguished Service Medals; and medals for Correctional Officer and Supervisor of the Year. CDCR also honored exemplary executives and administrators as well as health care, rehabilitation, parole, and juvenile justice professionals.
Following is the complete list of employees honored at the 37th annual Medal of Valor ceremony.
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 the lives of others.
- David Tapia, Correctional Officer, North Kern State Prison (read his story)
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.
- Stephen Leach, Correctional Officer, California Health Care Facility
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.
- Matt Jones, Correctional Captain, Substance Abuse Training Facility and State Prison, Corcoran
- Richard Lance, Correctional Officer, Sierra Conservation Center
- Paul King, Correctional Officer, Sierra Conservation 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.
- Donald “Ronnie” Gibbens, Correctional Counselor, Wasco State Prison
- Jimmy Rubio, Correctional Officer, Deuel Vocational Institution
- Chad Greenwood, Special Agent, Fugitive Apprehension Team, Office of Correctional Safety
- Manuel Carrera, Correctional Officer, Sierra Conservation Center
- Cliff King, Correctional Officer, Mule Creek State Prison
- Robert Wagner, Parole Agent III, Fontana Parole Unit, Division of Adult Parole Operations
- Jason Ortiz, Emergency Services Coordinator, Office of Correctional Safety
- Moises Sandoval, Correctional Counselor, Classification Services Unit
- Leo Wanner, Correctional Lieutenant, Office of Audits and Court Compliance
- Alex Urtez, Parole Agent, Compton GPS-Harbor District, Division of Adult Parole Operations
- Bryan Arnold, Correctional Lieutenant, Sierra Conservation Center
- Daron Hitchcock, Correctional Officer, Sierra Conservation Center
- Caleb Severns, Correctional Officer, Sierra Conservation Center
- Kari McClure, Licensed Vocational Nurse, Sierra Conservation Center
- Rodney Speight, Correctional Lieutenant, California State Prison, Solano
- Andres Banuelos, Correctional Captain, California Institution for Men
- Brian Clark, Correctional Officer, California Medical Facility
- Jacob Fillmore, Correctional Sergeant, Folsom State Prison
- Kevin Ginni, Correctional Officer, Folsom State Prison
- Serg Kapanzhi, Correctional Officer, Folsom State Prison
- Don Breakey, Correctional Officer, Folsom State Prison
- Daniel Dela Cruz, Correctional Officer, Folsom State Prison
- Vance Wheatley, Correctional Officer, Folsom State Prison
- Aaron Leon, Correctional Officer, Wasco State Prison
- Cesar Quiroz, Stationary Engineer, Avenal State Prison
- Heriberto Mora, Correctional Lieutenant, Ironwood State Prison
- Mayra Mora, Registered Nurse, Ironwood State Prison
- John Bradley, Correctional Sergeant, Ironwood State Prison
- Spencer Leighton, Correctional Officer, Intermountain Conservation Camp
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.
- Carl Fabrizio Jr., Chief Psychologist, Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran (read his story)
Employee Recognition Awards
Executive of the Year
James “Jim” Robertson, Warden, Pelican Bay State Prison
Administrator of the Year
Madelynn McClain, Deputy Director, Office of Fiscal Services
Correctional Officer of the Year
Francisco Borboa, Correctional Officer, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison
Correctional Supervisor of the Year
Marvin Caruthers, Correctional Lieutenant, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison
Rehabilitation Professional of the Year
Martin Griffin, Assistant Chief of Education, Office of Correctional Education
Division of Adult Parole Operations Professional of the Year
Jamal Rowe, Chief Deputy Administrator, Division of Adult Parole Operations Northern Region
Division of Juvenile Justice Professional of the Year
Denita Razo, Acting Correctional Captain, Northern California Youth Correctional Center
Healthcare Professional of the Year
Rohit Chaurasia, Information Technology Specialist III, California Correctional Health Care Services