Above the Call, Inside CDCR Video

CDCR honors staff at 38th Medal of Valor

Highest honor for bravery awarded to Lt. Larry Faria

26 other employees recognized for heroic acts and dedicated public service

SACRAMENTO – CDCR honored 27 employees today during its 38th annual Medal of Valor Ceremony. CDCR awards its employees for exceptional work that benefits the department and the community.

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“Today we pay tribute to the courageous and unselfish actions of our employees who have risked their own safety to help others. It’s no surprise that many of our staff members continue to perform these acts year after year,” CDCR Secretary Jeff Macomber said. “Our colleagues demonstrate an unwavering commitment to their communities beyond their schedules and uniforms. We are forever grateful for their dedication.”

The Medal of Valor, CDCR’s highest award, is presented to employees who display conspicuous bravery or heroism far beyond the normal demands of correctional service. This year’s recipient is Lieutenant Larry Faria from the Office of Peace Officer Selection in Fresno.

On July 7, 2022, Lt. Faria witnessed a dramatic collision between a vehicle and a semi-tractor trailer while on his way to work. Lt. Faria ran to the scene and used a fire extinguisher to dampen the flames. When the fire persisted, he smashed the car’s window and pulled a young girl from the wreckage. His immediate and selfless actions saved her life.

Honorees this year work in a wide variety of disciplines throughout the state. Family members and colleagues attended the ceremony at Creekside Christian Church in Elk Grove.

Following is the complete list of employees honored:

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.

  • Lt. Larry Faria, Central Selection Center, Office of Peace Officer Selection, Fresno

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.

  • Duke Tamulonis, Maintenance Mechanic, California Rehabilitation Center, Norco
  • Scott Brady, Correctional Plant Manager II, California Rehabilitation Center, Norco
  • David Peebles, Correctional Officer, California Medical Facility, Vacaville
  • Ernie Cantu, Correctional Lieutenant, Pleasant Valley State Prison
  • Hector R. Macedo, Correctional Officer, Calipatria State Prison

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.

  • Geoff Edwards, Correctional Officer, Centinela State Prison
  • Harold Gaskill, Correctional Officer, Ironwood State Prison
  • Jocelyn Davison, Correctional Sergeant, San Quentin State Prison

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.

  • Frank Norris, Correctional Counselor I, California State Prison, Solano
  • Richard Jones, Parole Agent II, Division of Adult Parole Operations, Long Beach
  • Anthony Fernandez, Correctional Officer/Investigative Support Unit (ISU) K9, Ironwood State Prison
  • Jason Castillo, Correctional Officer/ISU K9, California Institution for Men, Chino
  • Christopher Reyes, Correctional Officer/ISU K9, California Rehabilitation Center, Riverside
  • Priscilla Rodriguez, Registered Nurse, Kern Valley State Prison
  • Kristopher Sanborn, Parole Agent I, Division of Adult Parole Operations, Ceres
  • Felipe Valle, Correctional Officer, High Desert State Prison
  • Stephanie Mora, Correctional Officer, High Desert State Prison
  • Andrea Abad, Correctional Officer, High Desert State Prison
  • Yanira Hernandez, Correctional Officer, Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility
  • Juan “Sammy” Farias, Correctional Officer, Sierra Conservation Center, Oakdale
  • Darryl  Nolan, Correctional Sergeant, Folsom State Prison
  • Benny Cornelsen, Supervising Social Worker, Salinas Valley State Prison 
  • Alan Meyer, Correctional Lieutenant, Salinas Valley State Prison 
  • Evan Bielanski, Correctional Sergeant, Salinas Valley State Prison 
  • Carlos Santos, Correctional Officer, Salinas Valley State Prison 
  • Joel Gomez, Correctional Lieutenant, Salinas Valley State Prison 

Learn more about the Medal of Valor on the CDCR website.

Read more stories of staff going above the call.

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