Above the Call, Awards and Appreciation

Gold Star awarded to Luis Cardenas, retired agent

Luis Cardenas receiving the Gold Star, standing between a cabinet secretary and the director of the parole division.
From left are Cabinet Secretary Anne Patterson, retired Parole Agent Luis Cardenas and DAPO Director Marvin Speed at the June 21 ceremony.

California Governor Gavin Newsom honored retired CDCR Parole Agent Luis Cardenas with the Gold Star during the annual State Employee Medal of Valor ceremony on June 21.

CDCR secretary and a retired parole agent receiving the Gold Star.
Secretary Jeff Macomber and retired Parole Agent Luis Cardenas.

The Gold Star is the highest state award presented to a public safety officer who shows exceptional bravery.

Cardenas earned this recognition for stopping a shooter in Bakersfield during a 2020 incident, ensuring the safety of over 100 people.

“We take pride in Agent Cardenas’ actions, which exemplify the CDCR employees’ commitment to prioritizing the welfare of their community,” said CDCR Secretary Jeff Macomber. “Thanks to his bravery, the shooter surrendered without any fatalities or injuries. We need more people like Luis Cardenas in our communities.”

Although retired from CDCR, Cardenas keeps himself busy taking care of bees.

He works as a beekeeper, collaborating with numerous buzzing companions, to assist in the pollination process of plants. His knowledge about these small insects reflects his positive attitude towards the community.

“The bees are ready to place their individual needs after the needs of the hive,” he said. 

Read the full press release about the event.

Read a Q&A with Luis Cardenas.

The California Department of Human Resources sponsors the Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor Award. The employee’s department makes the award nominations. The statewide Merit Award Board reviews the nominations. The Director of CalHR selects the awardees. Since the program began in 1959, over 700 state employees have received Medals of Valor. 

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