Honorees included one Medal of Valor recipient and 42 other employees recognized for heroic acts and dedicated public service
SACRAMENTO – At its 2022 Medal of Valor Ceremony, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) honored 43 people for their bravery in responding to crises and life-threatening situations as well as exemplary work of benefit to the department and the community.
“Today’s awards demonstrated the impressive reach CDCR staff honored today have through their courageous acts and an unyielding commitment to making a positive difference in people’s lives,” CDCR Secretary Kathleen Allison said. “Quickly responding to dangerous incidents and even putting their own lives at risk to save others means our communities are safer as a direct result of the dedication, humanity, and valor CDCR staff show day after day.”
One employee was awarded the Medal of Valor, CDCR’s highest award earned by distinguishing themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional service. North Kern State Prison Correctional Officer David Tapia received the Medal of Valor for stopping an attack on a Bakersfield government building and saving lives inside after the assailant set the building on fire.
Employees from nearly all disciplines and professions statewide received awards at Creekside Christian Church of Elk Grove. In addition to the Medal of Valor, CDCR awarded Bronze, Silver and Gold Corrections Stars; Distinguished Service Medals; and medals for Correctional Officer and Supervisor of the Year. CDCR also honored exemplary executives and administrators as well as health care, rehabilitation, parole, and juvenile justice professionals.
Following is the complete list of employees honored at the Sept. 23 37th Annual Medal of Valor ceremony.
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.
David Tapia, Correctional Officer, North Kern State Prison
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.
Stephen Leach, Correctional Officer, California Health Care Facility
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.
Matt Jones, Correctional Captain, Substance Abuse Training Facility and State Prison, Corcoran
Richard Lance, Correctional Officer, Sierra Conservation Center
Paul King, Correctional Officer, Sierra Conservation Center
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.
Donald “Ronnie” Gibbens, Correctional Counselor I, Wasco State Prison
Jimmy Rubio, Correctional Officer, Deuel Vocational Institution
Chad Greenwood, Special Agent, Fugitive Apprehension Team, Office of Correctional Safety
Manuel Carrera, Correctional Officer, Sierra Conservation Center
Cliff King, Correctional Officer, Mule Creek State Prison
Robert Wagner, Parole Agent III, Fontana Parole Unit, Division of Adult Parole Operations
Jason Ortiz, Emergency Services Coordinator, Office of Correctional Safety
Moises Sandoval, Correctional Counselor I, Classification Services Unit
Leo Wanner, Correctional Lieutenant, Office of Audits and Court Compliance
Alex Urtez, Parole Agent I, Compton GPS-Harbor District, Division of Adult Parole Operations
Bryan Arnold, Correctional Lieutenant, Sierra Conservation Center
Daron Hitchcock, Correctional Officer, Sierra Conservation Center
Caleb Severns, Correctional Officer, Sierra Conservation Center
Kari McClure, Licensed Vocational Nurse, Sierra Conservation Center
Rodney Speight, Correctional Lieutenant, California State Prison, Solano
Andres Banuelos, Correctional Captain, California Institution for Men
Brian Clark, Correctional Officer, California Medical Facility
Jacob Fillmore, Correctional Sergeant, Folsom State Prison
Kevin Ginni, Correctional Officer, Folsom State Prison
Serg Kapanzhi, Correctional Officer, Folsom State Prison
Don Breakey, Correctional Officer, Folsom State Prison
Daniel Dela Cruz, Correctional Officer, Folsom State Prison
Vance Wheatley, Correctional Officer, Folsom State Prison
Aaron Leon, Correctional Officer, Wasco State Prison
Cesar Quiroz, Stationary Engineer, Avenal State Prison
Heriberto Mora, Correctional Lieutenant, Ironwood State Prison
Mayra Mora, Registered Nurse, Ironwood State Prison
John Bradley, Correctional Sergeant, Ironwood State Prison
Spencer Leighton, Correctional Officer, Intermountain Conservation Camp
Distinguished Service Medal
The Distinguished Service Medal is awarded for an employee’s exemplary work conduct with the Department for a period of months or years, or involvement in a specific assignment of unusual benefit to the Department.
Carl Fabrizio Jr., Chief Psychologist, Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran
Employee Recognition Awards
Executive of the Year
James “Jim” Robertson, Warden, Pelican Bay State Prison
Administrator of the Year
Madelynn McClain, Deputy Director, Office of Fiscal Services
Correctional Officer of the Year
Francisco Borboa, Correctional Officer, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison
Correctional Supervisor of the Year
Marvin Caruthers, Correctional Lieutenant, Chuckawalla Valley State Prison
Rehabilitation Professional of the Year
Martin Griffin, Assistant Chief of Education, Office of Correctional Education
Division of Adult Parole Operations Professional of the Year
Jamal Rowe, Chief Deputy Administrator, Division of Adult Parole Operations, Northern Region
Division of Juvenile Justice Professional of the Year
Denita Razo, Acting Correctional Captain, Northern California Youth Correctional Center
Healthcare Professional of the Year
Rohit Chaurasia, Information Technology Specialist III, California Correctional Health Care Services
Contact: CDCR Press Office, firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 445-4950