Thursday, September 15, 2016

CDCR Honors Employees at Medal of Valor Ceremony

125 honored for courage, service above and beyond the call of duty

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) honored 125 employees today during its 31st annual Medal of Valor Ceremony. The Medal of Valor is earned by employees distinguishing themselves by conspicuous bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional service. It is the highest honor CDCR bestows upon its employees.
“At the end of the day, the strength of a society is not its money, or its elections, much less its elected officials,” said Gov. Jerry Brown, who attended the ceremony. “It’s the people, their character, their virtue, and how they treat themselves, their families and their neighbors, and who are strengthening our state and country by what they’ve done. They go above and beyond the call of duty and act in a way that is profoundly humane and gives edification and inspiration to everyone else who hears about it or sees it.”
One of this year’s Medal of Valor recipients is California State Prison-Sacramento (SAC) Correctional Officer Jaymi Appleberry. When she and a friend were attacked by an armed assailant, Appleberry’s quick thinking and self-defense training enabled her to not only release her friend from the attacker’s grip, but also to disarm the man even while his gun fired twice. The courage of Appleberry, who suffered a head laceration in the fight, saved her and her roommate from serious injury or even death.
“I would like to express my gratitude for all the dedicated women and men who serve our department. They exemplify a commitment to selfless service day in and day out,” said CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan. “Our jobs have never been easy. However, we continue meeting the challenges as they arise, sometimes at great personal sacrifice. I am proud to lead our staff as we strive to make the agency a national role model for corrections and rehabilitation.”
This year’s second Medal of Valor recipient is Salinas Valley State Prison Correctional Officer Mike Johnson, who pulled a woman to safety from a burning vehicle just seconds before it became engulfed in flames. Also honored with Silver Stars from the Sacramento area are Correctional Officer Rafael Diaz from Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, who subdued an armed robber, and SAC Correctional Officers Darrell Nygren, Ronnie Wheeler and Ted Zerr, who saved lives of both staff and inmates during an inmate attack.
Staff members from state prisons, parole offices and divisions statewide received awards at Creekside Christian Church of Elk Grove. In addition to the Medal of Valor, CDCR awarded Distinguished Service Medals, Unit Citations and Bronze, Silver and Gold Corrections Stars.
A complete list of 2016 award winners follows:
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 in the lives of others.

Mike R. Johnson, Correctional Officer
Salinas Valley State Prison

Jaymi Appleberry, Correctional Officer
California State Prison-Sacramento


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.

Jesus Blandon, 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.

John Edelman, Parole Agent I
California Parolee Apprehension Team North

Kenneth Thomas, Parole Agent I
Sean Torphy, Parole Agent I
Ben Somera, Parole Agent I
Southern Region California Parolee Apprehension Team

John Mendiboure, Correctional Lieutenant
Michael Tuntakit, Correctional Lieutenant
Avenal State Prison

Rafael Diaz, Correctional Officer
Correctional Training Center

Peter Vanderford, Correctional Officer
Prado Conservation Camp #28

Mario Gutierrez, Correctional Officer
Southern Camp Warehouse

Quincy Thacker, Parole Administrator
Southern Region California Parolee Apprehension Team

Eduardo (Edward) Sanchez, Parole Agent I
Southern Region California Parolee Apprehension Team

Miguel Lopez, Youth Correctional Officer
Vincent Sillas, Lieutenant Youth Authority
Ventura Youth Correctional Facility

Steve M. Mello, Correctional Officer
North Kern State Prison

Darrell Nygren, Correctional Sergeant
Ronnie Wheeler, Correctional Officer
Ted Zerr, Correctional Officer
California State Prison-Sacramento

Aaron Brannen, Correctional Officer
Christopher Causey, Correctional Officer
California State Prison-Sacramento

Chad Look, Correctional Officer
Luis Delatorre, Correctional Officer
Tyson Manning, Correctional Officer
Wasco State Prison Reception Center

Daniel Rodriguez, Correctional Officer
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.

Juan Aguirre, Correctional Officer
Travon Rodgers, Correctional Officer
Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility

Gary Gomez, Correctional Officer
Ironwood State Prison

Raymond Dominguez, Correctional Officer
Joshua Priester, Correctional Officer
Folsom State Prison

Derek Kelley, Correctional Officer
Wayne Anthony, Retired Correctional Lieutenant
Pelican Bay State Prison

Joseph Jasso, Correctional Food Manager I
Chuckawalla Valley State Prison

Stan Tuck, Correctional Sergeant
Avenal State Prison

Karla Joseph, Correctional Officer
San Quentin State Prison

Karen Elliott, Correctional Case Records Administrator
Division of Adult Institutions - Case Records Services

Gerardo Garcia, Pharmacy Technician
Central California Women's Facility

Shawn Dawson, Correctional Officer
Victor Ruiz, Correctional Officer
Chuckawalla Valley State Prison

Eric Baker, Correctional Sergeant
California State Prison, Sacramento

Roy Dickinson, Special Agent
Office of Correctional Safety Fugitive Apprehension Team – Fresno

Marco Arana, Correctional Officer
California Institution for Women

Fernando Herrera, Correctional Sergeant
Office of Training and Personal Development/Advanced Learning Institute

Christian Logan, Correctional Officer
Kern Valley State Prison

Deric Johnson, Associate Construction Analyst
Facility Planning, Construction & Management

Doug Sykes, Correctional Officer
High Desert State Prison

Stacey Emerson, Correctional Officer
High Desert State Prison

David Church, Correctional Officer
Robert Gamberg Sr., Correctional Lieutenant
Craig Phillips, Supervising Registered Nurse III
High Desert State Prison


Unit Citation Medal
The Unit Citation is awarded for great courage displayed by a departmental unit in the course of conducting an operation in the face of immediate life-threatening circumstances.

Fernand Alvarez, Physician & Surgeon
Denise Reyes, Physician & Surgeon
George Beatty, Physician & Surgeon
Clarene David, Physician & Surgeon
Shannon Garrigan, Physician & Surgeon
John Grant, Physician & Surgeon
Doreen Leighton, Physician & Surgeon
Jenny Espinoza, Physician & Surgeon
Alison Pachynski, Physician & Surgeon
Michael Rowe, Physician & Surgeon
Daniel Smith, Physician & Surgeon
Rahul Vanjani, Physician & Surgeon
Lisa Pratt, Chief Physician & Surgeon
Elena Tootell, Chief Medical Executive
Ingrid Nelson, Nurse Practitioner
Peggy Hanna, Nurse Practitioner
San Quentin State Prison
(This team is also recognized as Healthcare Professional of the Year)

Servando Ceballos, Correctional Officer
Danny A. Delgadillo, Correctional Officer
Brenda Sanchez, Correctional Officer
Jason A. Sanudo, Correctional Officer
Daryl L. Schlitz, Correctional Officer
Carlos A. Vega, Correctional Officer
Thadd C. Wittmann, Correctional Officer
Darryl L. Williams, Correctional Sergeant
Salinas Valley State Prison

David Gonzales, Correctional Sergeant
Tyrome Johnson, Correctional Officer
Michelle Stein, Registered Nurse
Petyo Rashev, Correctional Officer
Jeremy Prentice, Correctional Lieutenant
Steven Byers, Correctional Sergeant
Kathryn Manness, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Jason Murillo, Correctional Officer
Breanna Ortiz, Correctional Officer
Rolfe Dixon, Correctional Officer
California State Prison-Sacramento

Leonel Garcia, Correctional Officer
Brandon Merkelbach, Correctional Officer
Vincent Mayorga, Correctional Officer
Mark Garcia, Correctional Sergeant
California Institution for Women

Henry Arevalo Jr., Correctional Officer
Ricky Charles, Correctional Officer
Eric Dixon, Correctional Officer
Ernest Parker, Correctional Officer
Robert Perez, Correctional Officer
Michael Rients, Correctional Officer
Daniel Vasquez, Correctional Officer
Claire Garrovillo, Registered Nurse
William Sullivan, Correctional Sergeant
Kern Valley State Prison

Dylan Brown, Correctional Officer
Christopher Causey, Correctional Officer
Seth Ignasiak, Correctional Officer
Jeff Leech, Correctional Officer
Robert Mott, Correctional Officer
Breanna Ortiz, Correctional Officer
Matthew Troth, Correctional Officer
Paul Bettencourt, Correctional Officer
California State Prison-Sacramento


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.

Charles Wood, Correctional Health Services Administrator II
California State Prison-Sacramento

David Johns, Parole Agent I
Northern Region, Ukiah Parole Unit

Richard Gonsalves, Parole Agent I
Meshal Kashifalghita, Parole Agent I
Kenneth Thomas, Parole Agent I
Joshua Bateson, Parole Agent II
Eduardo (Edward) Sanchez, Parole Agent I
Cecelia Gutierrez, Parole Service Associate
Elizabeth Ornelas, Parole Service Associate
Patricia Tellez, Parole Agent II
Southern Region California Parolee Apprehension Team

Dawn Hershberger, Correctional Officer
California Correctional Center

Marlaina Dernoncourt, Correctional Captain
California State Prison-Solano


Employee Recognition Awards

Executive of the Year
Clark Ducart, Warden
Pelican Bay State Prison

Administrator of the Year
Jason Lopez, Deputy Director
Office of Fiscal Services

Rehabilitation Professional of the Year
Jacqueline Laudeman, Correctional Counselor III
Division of Rehabilitative Programs

Division of Adult Parole Operations Professional of the Year
Denise Milano, Chief Deputy Administrator, Correctional Program
Headquarters

Correctional Officer of the Year
Juan C. Velazquez, Correctional Officer
California Institution for Men

Correctional Supervisor of the Year
Andres Banuelos, Correctional Lieutenant
California Institution for Men

Division of Juvenile Justice Professional of the Year
Heather Bowlds, Associate Director, Mental Health

Healthcare Professional of the Year
Legionnaires' Disease Team

San Quentin State Prison