News Releases

Corrections Honors its Heros — 1997 Medal of Valor Award Winners

Medal of Valor

The Medal of Valor is the Department’s highest award, earned by employees who distinguish 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 how professional judgment and not jeopardize operations or the lives of others.

Correctional Officer Marco Guilin–Calipatria State Prison

Several inmates, armed with inmate-manufactured weapons, entered the program office at Calipatria State Prison and began assaulting staff. When Officer Guilin responded to the alarm, he found two officers defending themselves against attacks by two inmates. He used his side-handle baton to try to control the inmates. As other inmates continued to enter the office, Guilin helped his fellow officers by controlling and handcuffing the inmates. Once the disturbance was under control, Officer Guilin helped a fellow officer, who had been stabbed repeatedly, until medical help arrived.

Officer Guilin risked his own life to save the lives of his fellow officers. I am proud to present Officer Marco Guilin with the Medal of Valor.

Correctional Officer Mauro Espino–Centinela State Prison

After announcing a general alarm to the housing unit by institutional radio, Correctional Officer Mauro Espino responded to the aid of a Correctional Sergeant being stabbed by an inmate. When he arrived, the inmate attempted to stab him as well. Using his side-handle baton, Officer Espino tried to subdue and control the inmate. He forced the stabbing weapon from the inmate’s hand and brought the inmate under control. In addition to the inmate’s weapon, officers found two more makeshift stabbing weapons, one that had been discarded prior to the attack and another in his pants pocket. The wounded sergeant was hospitalized for emergency treatment of his wounds.

Officer Espino’s quick and effective response clearly saved the life of his fellow officer while risking his own and is commended for his bravery and heroism. He justly deserves the Medal of Valor.

Gold Medal

The Corrections Star Gold Medal is the Department’s second highest award 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.

Correctional Officer Barry Ries–Calipatria State Prison

When inmates attacked staff during the release from the Dining Hall, one inmate stabbed an officer twice in the chest and two other inmates began assaulting the injured officer. Officer Ries quickly intervened to protect his fellow officer. He used his side-handle baton to disable one of the inmates. When the other inmate threatened Ries and pointed his weapon at him, Officer Ries ordered the inmate to the ground and handcuffed him.

Had it not been for Officer Ries’ quick action and disregard for his own personal safety, his fellow officer could have sustained much more serious injuries from the inmates’ attacks.

Silver Medal

The Corrections Star Silver Medal is the Department’s third highest award 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 his/herself by performing in stressful situations with exceptional tactics or judgment.

Correctional Officer Craig Vaughn–California Correctional Center

Correctional Officers Craig Vaughn and Dye were visiting a fellow officer at her home when they heard her screaming for help. Both officers ran to their friend’s location and found her large dog biting and tearing at her and she was no longer able to defend herself. Office Vaughn overpowered the dog and pulled it away from its victim. In the process, Officer Vaughn sustained a deep bite on his arm which led to a significant loss of blood.

Officer Vaughn’s immediate action prevented further injury and possibly even the death of his friend. He responded with disregard for his own safety and is to be commended for his bravery.

Correctional Officer Tony Biggs, Correctional Officer Laurence Moll, Correctional Officer Damon Reynoso, and Correctional Sergeant Robert Quinlan–California State Prison, Sacramento

When Sergeant Quinlan and Officers Biggs, Moll and Reynoso responded to a cell fire, they found smoke pouring out from under the cell door. They were unable to get any response from the inmate inside. When they got the door open, they found a flaming torn apart mattress blocking their entrance to the cell and an inmate unconscious at the back of the cell. When attempts to put out the fire with an extinguisher were partially successful, the officers cleared the cell by pulling the remains of the burning mattress out. They then dragged the unconscious inmate out to safety. He was hospitalized in the intensive care unit while the officers were treated for smoke inhalation and released.

The unselfish and cooperative effort of these four staff saved the life of the inmate and exemplifies their spirit and dedication to the preservation of life.

Correctional Officer Richard Salgado–Calipatria State Prison

Responding to an alarm in the Program Office, Officer Salgado entered the office and was immediately confronted by an inmate who took a fighting stance. Officer Salgado used his side-handle baton to strike the inmate a number of times. Salgado was slammed against the wall and fell to his knees but he continued to ward off the inmate until he was restrained. Despite serious injuries to his knee and back, Salgado managed to maintain coverage of the other inmates until additional staff responded to control the situation. Salgado received a puncture wound to his knee as well as back injuries.

Officer Salgado’s action prevented grievous bodily injury and helped to control the incident. His bravery epitomizes the highest standards of a correctional officer.

Correctional Officer Barry Young–Wasco State Prison

While driving home late one evening, Officer Young observed a car smash into the rear of a van. After slamming into an embankment, the van plunged into the Lerdo Canal, and came to rest submerged upside down with only the wheels above water. With the help of two other passing motorists, Officer Young jumped into the swift-moving water, pulled the two victims from the van and brought them to shore. Although neither victim survived, Officer Young’s heroism displayed a great respect for human life and a willingness to put others’ safety ahead of his own.

Bronze Medal

The Corrections Star Bronze Medal is the Department’s award 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.

Correctional Officer Ricia Dye–California Correctional Center

While visiting a fellow officer at her home, Officers Dye and Vaughn saw their friend’s dog viciously attack her. After Officer Vaughn had freed the woman from the dog’s attack, Officer Dye immediately began applying emergency first aid to control the victim’s severe bleeding, helping to prevent serious blood loss.

Officer Dye’s immediate action clearly prevented much greater injury and she is to be commended for her selfless act.

Rejinther Dosange, Medical Technical Assistant–California Medical Facility

MTA Dosange was driving to work when she came upon CHP flashing lights and a car that had flipped over on the shoulder of the freeway. Dosange spoke to the CHP Officer who directed her to an injured passenger lying in the bushes nearby. Checking the man for injuries Dosange discovered he was a correctional officer and was bleeding from a severe leg wound. She made a tourniquet out of a sweatshirt and tied off the area above the wound. She then kept the injured man calm until medical help arrived. Once the injured man was taken by ambulance to the hospital, Dosange continued on to work where she completed a full shift.

MTA Dosange is to be commended for her willingness to stop and help, ministering to a severely injured person and possibly saving his life.

Correctional Officer Sandra St. Aubin–California Rehabilitation Center

As she was driving home from the range, Officer St. Aubin heard a loud noise and turning the corner she saw that a pick-up truck had run head-on into a high voltage power pole. She immediately jumped out of her car to help the driver. Officer St. Aubin tried to help the person out of the truck, even though the power lines were arcing. Despite the electrical flashing, she reached in and pulled the man out the driver-side window to safety. She flagged down a passing motorist to call for help.

As a result of Officer St. Aubin’s heroism, the driver escaped serious injuries and a possible fatal accident.

Correctional Officer Glen Brazeal–California State Prison, Los Angeles County

While supervising the morning meal release, Officer Brazeal and another officer were viciously attacked by an inmate. The inmate punched Brazeal twice in the face and upper torso knocking him backwards. The inmate then grabbed the other officer by the shirt and repeatedly struck him in the face with his fists. Brazeal regained his footing and sprayed his OC pepper spray in the inmate’s face, which had no effect. Brazeal then struck the inmate several times with his side-handle baton as the inmate continued to attack the other officer. With his colleague bleeding and unconscious, Brazeal continued to try to protect him against the inmate’s attack. The Control Booth Officer finally disabled the inmate and handcuffed him. With the inmate down, Brazeal ignored his own wounds to tend to his seriously injured partner. Throughout the ordeal Officer Brazeal defended his partner with disregard for his own safety.

Officer Brazeal’s willingness to help his partner attests to his personal courage, dedication, honor and commitment.

Correctional Officer David A. Barzelay–California State Prison, Sacramento

During a disturbance on the main exercise yard involving approximately 200 Black and Hispanic inmates, Officer Barzelay saw an inmate attack an officer, striking the officer on the side of his head. The officer fell to the ground in a semi-conscious state and was unable to defend himself. Officer Barzelay responded immediately, pulled the inmate away from the injured officer and forced him to the ground. Barzelay handcuffed the inmate and took him away from the area.

Despite the intensity of the on-going violence and numerous rifle rounds being fired, Officer Barzelay disregarded his own safety in order to render aid to an officer down, preventing further serious injury.

Correctional Officer Michael K. Gregory–California State Prison, Sacramento

During a disturbance involving 200 Black and Hispanic inmates on the main exercise yard, Officer Gregory responded to the yard when he heard shots being fired. Once in the yard, Officer Gregory saw an inmate who had been shot in the face and was bleeding profusely from a neck wound. He saw Officer Key grab a shirt from another inmate and place it over the wound in an effort to stop the bleeding. It was clear to Officer Gregory that the inmate would bleed to death without immediate medical attention. Due to the magnitude of the disturbance and chaotic state of the yard, there were no stretchers or gurneys available, so Officers Key and Gregory carried the inmate to the clinic.

Officer Gregory acted without regard for his own personal safety in order to save the life of another.

Correctional Officer Michael J. Key–California State Prison, Sacramento

During a disturbance involving 200 Black and Hispanic inmates on the main exercise yard, Officer Key responded to the yard when he heard shots being fired. Once in the yard, Officer Key saw an inmate who had been shot in the face and was bleeding profusely from a neck wound. Officer Key grabbed a shirt from another inmate and placed it over the wound in an effort to stop the bleeding. It was clear to Officer Key that the inmate would bleed to death without immediate medical attention. Due to the magnitude of the disturbance and chaotic state of the yard, there were no stretchers or gurneys available, so Officer Key and another officer carried the inmate to the clinic, saving the inmate’s life.

Without Officer Key’s quick and decisive action, the inmate would have surely bled to death. Officer Key is commended for his efforts to save the life of another.

Correctional Officer Tim M. Potter, California State Prison, Sacramento

When a large scale racial disturbance erupted on the main exercise yard involving 200 Black and Hispanic inmates, Officer Potter responded. He saw an inmate who was critically wounded and bleeding profusely from the neck and mouth. Realizing there were no stretchers or gurneys available, Officer Potter put the wounded inmate’s arm across his own shoulders and helped him walk to the clinic.

Officer Potter’s compassionate and selfless response undoubtedly contributed to saving the life of the wounded inmate. Officer Potter is commended for his quick and decisive response to a critical situation.

Correctional Officer Steven C. Bates–California State Prison, San Quentin

Officer Bates had just left a doctor’s office on a houseboat moored at the Sausilito dock when he discovered that the office building was on fire. Knowing the doctor was hearing impaired, Bates quickly returned to the doctor’s office and warned him in writing and body language about the fire. To escape the flames Officer Bates and the doctor went to the rear of the building where they found six other people and a dog fleeing the flames. When they were certain there were no other victims, Bates and the doctor jumped into the water where they were later rescued by local boaters.

Officer Bates’ timely action and deep concern for others contributed to saving the doctor’s life and the lives of others.

Gerald T. Fountain, Supervisor of Vocational Instruction–Calipatria State Prison

After a day of swimming and water skiing, Mr. Fountain returned to the boat launch when he noticed a boat tied up to the dock nearby. A woman holding a baby lost her balance as she stepped from the boat to the dock and she fell into the water with the baby. The infant was wearing a lifejacket and popped immediately to the surface, but the woman did not surface. Fountain dove into the water, located the woman while she was still submerged, and brought her to the surface. She was given a flotation device and Fountain helped her to shore.

Mr. Fountain demonstrated the highest qualities of a correctional employee in coming to the aid of a person in need.

Correctional Officer Kelvin C. Garcia–Centinela State Prison

While driving to work early one morning, Officer Garcia saw a delivery truck slam into the back of a van. The van, driven by a handicapped gentleman, went over an embankment into a canal with water about six feet deep. Officer Garcia tried to open the doors of the van, but they were all jammed. The driver was not alert, so Officer Garcia could not communicate with him. As the van began to fill with water, Officer Garcia climbed onto the roof of the van and pulled the driver out through the window and up over the embankment.

Officer Garcia’s quick and effective response clearly saved the victim’s life. Officer Garcia is to be commended for his heroic actions.

Correctional Lieutenant Richard E. Riddle–Chuckawalla Valley State Prison

As Lt. Riddle and his wife were walking in Blythe, they a saw a car start to cross an irrigation canal bridge. The car veered to the right, ran off the bridge, and came to rest upside down in the canal. Lt. Riddle immediately ran to the accident, dove into the canal, and tried to help the driver who was trapped inside. When he could not open the doors, he smashed the window and pulled the driver from the car. Lt. Riddle cut his arm on the broken glass as he pulled out the driver.

Although the driver of the vehicle did not survive the crash, Lt. Riddle’s actions were clearly heroic. He acted quickly and without regard for his own safety and is to be thanked for his unselfish and valiant actions.

Correctional Officer Russell G. Clayton–Folsom State Prison

Driving home one afternoon, Officer Clayton saw a car run off the road and into a creek that was running fast and was deep due to recent rains. When he got to the edge of the creek, he saw the car floating downstream. It became lodged against a tree and began to fill with water. Officer Clayton climbed the tree and talked to the driver who was struggling to get out of her seat. He told her to give him the car keys and climb to the rear of the car. Officer Clayton then opened the rear hatch and, along with a CHP Officer who had arrived on the scene, pulled the driver from the car. She told them there was another passenger in the car. The passenger was an elderly woman who was mumbling incoherently, clinging to the dashboard and then grabbing the steering wheel. Officer Clayton had to forcibly remove her by pulling her over the front seat and out the back of the car while it was filling with water.

Officer Clayton’s quick thinking and actions saved the lives of two women who most probably would have otherwise perished.

Correctional Officer Stephen D. Rader–R.J. Donovan Correctional Facility

One day last November, a washer extractor in the Prison Industry Authority Laundry explored, contaminating the entire area with noxious chemical fumes. The explosion severely injured one inmate’s eye and right arm. Officer Rader responded immediately and saw that the inmate’s arm was bleeding profusely. He used a belt as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and talked to the inmate to keep him alert until medical help arrived. The inmate was taken to a local hospital where he underwent surgery.

Officer Rader’s quick thinking and actions were instrumental in saving the inmate’s life. His efforts represent the highest caliber of correctional employee who in the face of danger maintains calm judgment.

Parole Agent I Ronald I. Johnstad–Parole Region I

Parole Agent Johnstad saw a pickup truck cross the freeway center divider and overturn. He immediately went to the overturned truck and found the driver unconscious and not breathing. Agent Johnstad administered CPR until the victim began breathing on his own. Because the victim was pinned inside the vehicle Agent Johnstad continued to hold the victim’s head upright to help him breathe until emergency help arrived.

We join the Highway Patrol in commending Agent Johnstad’s lifesaving efforts. His concern for others reflects well on him and on the Department of Corrections.

Parole Agent I Jon L. Ashley–Parole Region IV

Parole Agent Ashley and members of the Pomona Police Department were looking for a parolee-at-large when they spotted smoke coming from a house. When they arrived, the fire was contained near the rear of the house. Agent Ashley knocked on the front door repeatedly but no one came to the door. He opened the door and found an elderly man standing in the living room. Although the man said there was no one else in the house, Agent Ashley saw a young man run from the rear of the house. Agent Ashley and a police officer searched the house room-by-room and found a young girl on the first floor who was unaware of the fire. They sent the girl out of the house and continued their search but found no one else in the home. When they had completed their search, they helped the elderly man out to safety. Just as they got everyone out of the house, the fire spread rapidly throughout the structure and ultimately destroyed the home.<

Were it not for the quick and decisive action by Parole Agent Ashley, the occupants of the house could very well have suffered injury or even death.

Correctional Officer & Supervisor of the Year Awards

The employee shall exemplify the high quality of service the nation receives from its detentiona dn correctional officers.

Correctional Officer of the Year

Correctional Officer Bryan Kingston–High Desert State Prison

Officer Bryan Kingston joined the Department of Corrections in 1986 and worked at the California Correctional Center in Susanville until transferring in 1995 to the neighboring High Desert State Prison. He played a key role in establishing High Desert’s Investigative Services Unit, its evidence laboratory and various procedures for the Unit.

In 1995, Kingston was part of a negotiations team that persuaded a killer in a nearby community into surrendering, preventing further injuries or death. On two occasions, Kingston has also helped capture and return escapees. In one case, he carefully studied the escapee’s records and deduced where the man might be headed. He contacted the escapee’s girlfriend and with her help was able to locate the man and return him to the institution.

Kingston has demonstrated superior leadership both at work and in the community, where he is an active volunteer for youth sporting events.

Bryan Kingston has been chosen by not only the California Department of Corrections but by the International Association of Corrections Officers as their Correctional Officer of the Year. We recognize him here today for his significant contributions to the Department of Correctios and the community in which he lives. He is an outstanding example of a correctional officer professional.

Correctional Supervisor of the Year

Correctional Lieutenant C. L. “Tony” Duncan–Devil’s Garden Conservation Camp

Lieutenant Tony Duncan, this year’s Correctional Supervisor of the Year, is a 30-year veteran of the California Department of Corrections. Duncan first served at the California Correctional Institution and later transferred to the California Correctional Center where he promoted to Sergeant in 1982 and Lieutenant in 1986. He has served as Camp Commander at Devil’s Garden Conservation Camp since 1988.

As Camp Commander, Lt. Duncan has demonstrated outstanding organizational and leadership skills. His work requires a good working relationship with the staff and the local community where the inmate crews undertake projects such as fire suppression and flood control.

During the recent safe housing at Devil’s Garden of a nigh notoriety parolee, Lt. Duncan established an open communication with the community which greatly improved the public’s attitude toward the Camp. During the Ambrose Complex Fire, Duncan oversaw more than 540 inmates and others while they fought the 11-day fire that eventually consumed 15,000 acres. And during the floods earlier this year, Lt. Duncan was responsible for the welfare of 560 inmates fighting the flood.