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CDCR Honors Employees at 37th Annual Medal of Valor Ceremony

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

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Contact: CDCR Press Office, opec@cdcr.ca.gov or (916) 445-4950

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