An unconscious victim is pulled from a burning house, deadly inmate attacks are thwarted, a rapist is pursued and captured, a 77-year-old angler is saved from the pounding surf. The Department of Corrections (CDC) will recognize these and other employee heroics at the annual Medal of Valor Ceremony, Friday, June 14 at 12:00 noon on the West steps of the State Capitol.
CDC will pay tribute at the ceremony to 30 of its employees for acts of heroism and outstanding service while on duty and in the community. The employees–male and female, peace officer and civilian–were selected out of a group of more than 70 nominees from CDC facilities throughout the state.
Youth and Adult Correctional Agency Secretary Joe Sandoval and CDC Director James Gomez will present the heroism medals and also awards for Correctional Officer and Correctional Supervisor of the Year.
During the ceremony, Sacramento television news anchormen Dave Walker, KCRA-TV, Alan Frio, KXTV-TV, and David Ono, KOVR-TV, will highlight details of the acts that earned the medals.
A brief summary of the individual actions and awards received is attached. Additional information may be obtained from the public information officer at the prison listed or from the CDC Communications office.
PARTIAL EMBARGO: DO NOT RELEASE THE TYPE OF AWARD (i.e. Medal of Valor, Gold Star, etc.) RECEIVED BY ANY INDIVIDUAL RECIPIENT UNTIL AFTER NOON, JUNE 14.
1996 MEDAL OF VALOR CEREMONY AWARD RECIPIENTS
MEDAL OF VALOR
Correctional Officer Bryan Clayton Gallemore–Corcoran State Prison. Forced inmate to stop attack on another officer who was semiconscious and being choked by that inmate.
Lieutenant Ken J. Howard–Calipatria State Prison. Came to aid of officer being assaulted. Chased off first assailant and, in spite of stabs wounds, subdued another inmate who attacked him.
Correctional Officers Tom C. Hopper, Gary Colvin, and Arturo R. Ramirez–Calipatria State Prison. Rescued fellow officer being assaulted by several inmates with prison-manufactured weapons. Each officer sustained injuries during the violent struggle that ensued.
Correctional Officer Elizabeth A. Thornhill–Corcoran State Prison. Came to the aid of a fellow officer who was being attacked by an inmate and assisted in subduing and disarming him.
House Monitor Michael MacCracken–Rubidoux Re-Entry Facility. (Contract Employee) Displayed sound tactics and courage when armed assailant fired on individuals at the community facility, killing one and injuring others.
Correctional Officer John Towle–Wasco State Prison. Broke up stabbing assault at a convenience store and then assisted arresting officer by restraining attacker.
Correctional Sergeant Dwight McGhee–Sierra Conservation Center. Crawled through dense smoke to rescue unconscious victim from a burning house.
Associate Warden Carolyn P. Graham and Associate Warden Roderick Q. Hickman–California Medical Facility. Used experience in conflict management to defuse a very threatening situation when an agitated inmate attempted to hold seven people hostage in the prison.
Correctional Counselor Prescott D. Bush–Folsom State Prison. Thwarted attack on correctional officer, without concern for his own safety.
Parole Agent Juan T. Castillo–Region II Parole. Gave assistance to rape victim, pursued and captured suspect.
Correctional Officer Kevin Anderson–California Rehabilitation Center. Stopped major racial disturbance, preventing serious injury to combatants.
Correctional Officer William Pitcher–Wasco State Prison. Assisted victims whose cars were engulfed by fireball from Bakersfield refinery explosion.
Correctional Sergeant Carlos Cuellar, Correctional Officers James D. Wilbanks and Kyle Buntley, and Medical Technical Assistant Lance Lowery–Wasco State Prison. Rescued inmate from the cell he had set afire; the inmate violently resisted their efforts to bring him to safety.
Firefighter Michael Vincent McCoy–Wasco State Prison. Used jaws of life in volatile and toxic situation (auto/tank truck collision) to rescue victims.
Parole Agents Steven Rodriguez and Karen Blackburn–Region I Parole. Both went to the aid of police officer who was having trouble making arrest. Restrained one suspect and used pepper spray on another to subdue resistance.
Correctional Sergeant Michael Quaglia and Correctional Officer Edward John Popke–Sierra Conservation Center. Responded to scene of auto accident and applied emergency aid, saving the life of victim.
Correctional Sergeant Sheldon A. Windley, Jr.–Mule Creek State Prison. At the request of the local police department used negotiation skills to talk a young woman out of committing suicide.
Chief Deputy Warden Robert Ayers and Captain Steven Lawrence–Pelican Bay State Prison. Rescued a 77-year-old man from the frigid, pounding surf.
Correctional Officer Anthony M. Salas–R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility. First person on scene at auto accident. Provided emergency aid and directed rescue efforts.