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 himself or herself by performing in stressful situations with exceptional tactics or judgement.
Silver Star Recipients:
Matt Jones, Correctional Captain, Substance Abuse Treatment Facility
Captain Jones and his wife, Lieutenant Andrea Jones, were enjoying the drive home from a family vacation on February 14, 2021.
As they approached the intersection of Utica and Dairy Avenues near Corcoran, they saw five people standing on the bank of a canal.
A car had run off the road and was in the canal nose first. A woman was in the car yelling for help.
Capt. Jones pulled over while his wife called 911. He asked the woman if she was alright.
She said her young daughter was in the back of the vehicle in a car seat.
As the car started sinking further into the water, Capt. Jones opened the rear door, removed the child from her car seat, and handed her to one of the bystanders.
He then instructed the driver to exit the car by climbing over the middle console. He and two other men linked their arms together so that he could safely pull the woman through the rear door of the car and onto the bank of the canal
The woman and her daughter suffered only minor injuries from the accident. Capt. Jones intervened quickly and showed courage, extraordinary decisiveness and presence of mind to save a mother and her child.
Richard Lance, Correctional Officer, Sierra Conservation Center
Paul King, Correctional Officer, Sierra Conservation Center
Correctional Officers Lance and King were first on the scene of a head-on accident that had just occurred on Highway 108 and 120 in the pre-dawn hours of December 9, 2021. It was raining and other vehicles were sliding to a stop on the slippery road. Without delay, Officers Lance and King stopped their vehicle, assessed the severity of the accident, and jumped into action.
One vehicle, a pickup truck, was down a steep embankment. The other mangled, smoking vehicle had major damage and was blocking the eastbound lane and partially blocking the westbound lane. Correctional Lieutenant Bryan Arnold, Correctional Officers Daron Hitchcock and Caleb Stevens, and Licensed Vocational Nurse Kari McClure, SCC employees who were also on their way to work, arrived and started helping and assessing the site.
Officer King slid down the hill to the pickup truck, got the injured driver out, and helped him up the steep hill to the roadway. Officer King, a former firefighter, then used a first-aid kit to treat the driver’s injuries and with Lt. Arnold, applied a soft splint to his broken arm and monitored him to keep him from going into shock.
Officer Lance opened the door of the other vehicle. He had to move the air bags out of the way to reach the driver who was pinned in. The steering wheel was pressed into the driver’s chest cavity. With nothing but his own strength, Officer Lance pulled and bent the steering wheel, making it easier for the victim to breathe.
Officer Lance and his fellow employees talked to the victim to keep him from passing out and they relayed information about the victims’ conditions to arriving first responders.
Because of the remote location, responding firefighters sought their assistance in extracting the trapped driver from his vehicle. First responders used the Jaws of Life and both drivers were rushed to the closest trauma hospital 40 minutes away.
Despite the heroic efforts of SCC staff and local fire and emergency medical responders, the driver extracted from the vehicle passed away.