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SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) honored 108 employees today during the annual Medal of Valor Ceremony. The Medal of Valor is earned by employees who distinguish themselves — whether on-duty or off — through bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional service. The Medal of Valor is the highest honor CDCR bestows upon its employees.

“This ceremony gives us an opportunity to recognize and thank some of the men and women who work tirelessly each day to protect the public’s safety,” said CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard. “Each of today’s honorees is an example of the quality of our staff. I am truly honored to lead this department, and I am very proud of the employees we are recognizing today.”

Staff members from institutions, parole offices and various divisions received awards at the First Baptist Church of Elk Grove Community Center. 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 2014 award winners follows:

Medal of Valor

The Medal of Valor is CDCR’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.

Correctional Sergeant Rafael Segovia, Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility (San Diego)

Special Agent Scott Moore, Office of Correctional Safety Fugitive Apprehension Team (Fresno)

Special Agent Dennis Reitz, Office of Correctional Safety Fugitive Apprehension Team (Fresno)

Parole Agent I Joseph Basile, Office of Correctional Safety Fugitive Apprehension Team (Fresno)

Parole Agent I Nate Castro, Office of Correctional Safety Fugitive Apprehension Team (Fresno)

Correctional Officer Ney Vencer, California State Prison-Sacramento


Gold Star 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 Richard McLeod, California State Prison-Sacramento

Correctional Officer Miguel Sanchez, California State Prison-Sacramento

Correctional Officer Jaime Ciudad-Real, California State Prison-Sacramento

Correctional Officer James Johnston, California State Prison-Sacramento

Correctional Officer Sandra Duran, Ironwood State Prison (Blythe)

Correctional Counselor II Specialist Daniel Godinez, Office of Audits and Court Compliance (Sacramento)

Registered Dental Assistant Jennifer “Jeni” Vicini, Mule Creek State Prison (Ione)

Registered Dental Assistant Angela Dunham, Mule Creek State Prison (Ione)

Licensed Vocational Nurse Evangeline Baliton, Mule Creek State Prison (Ione)

Correctional Sergeant Del Higgerson, Pelican Bay State Prison

Correctional Sergeant Andrew Barneburg, Pelican Bay State Prison

Correctional Officer Byron Gardner, Pelican Bay State Prison

Correctional Officer Charles Essex, Pelican Bay State Prison

Correctional Officer Donald M. “Mike” Wolf, Pelican Bay State Prison

Correctional Officer Chris Jackson, Pelican Bay State Prison


Silver Star 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 himself/herself by performing in stressful situations with exceptional tactics or judgment.

Correctional Officer Henri Philoctete, Ironwood State Prison (Blythe)

Stationary Engineer Steven Stalie, Avenal State Prison

Correctional Officer Alfonso Din Jr., Centinela State Prison

Correctional Officer Ruben Rosales Jr., Centinela State Prison

Fire Captain Gary Simoes, California Institution for Men (Chino

Correctional Sergeant Jason Taber, California State Prison-Corcoran)

Correctional Lieutenant Jacob Guzman, Valley State Prison (Chowchilla)

Correctional Officer Lydia Galvan, Valley State Prison (Chowchilla)


Bronze Star Medal
The Corrections Star (Bronze) 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 Adrian Suarez, Calipatria State Prison

Correctional Officer Christian Herrero, Centinela State Prison

Correctional Officer Juan Ramirez, Centinela State Prison

Registered Nurse Angel Gomez, Centinela State Prison

Correctional Sgt. Nathaniel P. Arsenault, California Men’s Colony (San Luis Obispo)

Correctional Officer Randall L. Bullock, California Men’s Colony (San Luis Obispo)

Correctional Officer Mona J. Schafer, California Men’s Colony (San Luis Obispo)

Correctional Officer Kenneth Hestich, Ironwood State Prison

Registered Nurse Lisa Soliz, California State Prison-Los Angeles County

Registered Nurse Michell Acosta, California State Prison-Los Angeles County

Correctional Officer Raul Morales, California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison-Corcoran

Licensed Vocational Nurse Nicholas Mannion, Salinas Valley State Prison (Soledad)

Correctional Sgt. Mark Drew, California Health Care Facility (Stockton)

Correctional Officer Salvador Hernandez, California Medical Facility (Vacaville)

Correctional Lieutenant Jeffrey Fecht, California State Prison-Solano (Vacaville)

Correctional Officer Sidney Borjas, Deuel Vocational Institution (Tracy)

Correctional Officer Casey Templeton, High Desert State Prison (Susanville)

Correctional Officer Jamica Alexander, Folsom State Prison

Correctional Officer Eric R. Baker, Folsom State Prison

Correctional Sgt. Mary Fraker, Folsom State Prison

Correctional Officer Christopher McElroy, California State Prison-Sacramento

Correctional Officer David Leininger, California State Prison-Sacramento

Correctional Officer Kenneth Mercado, California State Prison-Sacramento

Correctional Officer Adrian Yerby, California State Prison-Sacramento

Correctional Officer Daryl Mills, California State Prison-Sacramento

Youth Correctional Counselor Bee Vang, N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility (Stockton)

Parole Agent I Claudia Chavez, O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility (Stockton)

Parole Agent I Michael D. Williams, Oakland Parole Unit No. 2

Parole Agent II-Unit Supervisor Frank Hurtado, Ukiah Parole Unit

Parole Agent I Joseph Giglio, Ukiah Parole Unit

Parole Agent I David Johns, Ukiah Parole Unit


Unit Citation
The Unit Citation is for great courage displayed by a departmental unit in the face of immediate life-threatening circumstances

Correctional Officer Magdaleno Arredondo, Salinas Valley State Prison (Soledad)

Correctional Officer Leanna Reck, Salinas Valley State Prison (Soledad)

Correctional Officer Hector Gasca, Salinas Valley State Prison (Soledad)

Correctional Sergeant Emilio Perez, Salinas Valley State Prison (Soledad)

Fire Captain Paul Rivera, Salinas Valley State Prison (Soledad)

Correctional Officer Robert Yamamoto, Folsom State Prison

Correctional Officer Sandra Stone, Folsom State Prison

Correctional Officer James Farris, Folsom State Prison

Correctional Officer Jack Hamblin, Folsom State Prison

Correctional Sergeant Jeffrey Winn, Folsom State Prison

Licensed Vocational Nurse Eddie Isip, Folsom State Prison

Senior Special Agent Harvey Casillas, Fugitive Apprehension Team-Sacramento

Parole Agent I Erick Halverson, Office of Correctional Safety Fugitive Apprehension Team-Sacramento

Parole Agent I William Terrell, Office of Correctional Safety Fugitive Apprehension Team-Sacramento

Parole Agent I Lisa La Porta, Office of Correctional Safety Fugitive Apprehension Team-Sacramento

Parole Agent I Christopher Johnson, Office of Correctional Safety Fugitive Apprehension Team-Sacramento

Special Agent James Bottge, Office of Correctional Safety Fugitive Apprehension Team-Sacramento

Senior Special Agent (A) Michael Brodie, Office of Correctional Safety Special Service Unit-Rancho Cordova

Special Agent Matt Buechner, Office of Correctional Safety Special Service Unit-Rancho Cordova

Special Agent David Jakabosky, Office of Correctional Safety Special Service Unit-Rancho Cordova

Special Agent ChristopherParis, Office of Correctional Safety Special Service Unit-Rancho Cordova

Special Agent CharlesRogers, Office of Correctional Safety Special Service Unit-Rancho Cordova

Senior Special Agent RussPettis, Office of Correctional Safety Criminal Intelligence and Analysis Unit

Special Agent RichardBishop, Office of Correctional Safety Criminal Intelligence and Analysis Unit

Intelligence Analyst MonicaMontanez, Office of Correctional Safety Criminal Intelligence and Analysis Unit

Intelligence Analyst MarissaCastilone, Office of Correctional Safety Criminal Intelligence and Analysis Unit

Gang Specialist KennethKukrall, Office of Correctional Safety Criminal Intelligence and Analysis Unit

Gang Specialist JimBales, Office of Correctional Safety Criminal Intelligence and Analysis Unit

Correctional Counselor I Daniel A. Kirk, Sierra Conservation Center (Jamestown)

Correctional Sergeant Michael Bullock, Sierra Conservation Center (Jamestown)

Correctional Sergeant MatthewGilmore, Sierra Conservation Center (Jamestown)

Correctional Officer Justin Ellis, Sierra Conservation Center (Jamestown)


Distinguished Service Medal
The Distinguished Service Medal is 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.

Gang Institution Coordinator Michael Miranda, N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility (Stockton)

Parole Agent II/Re-entry Coordinator ChuckSupple, Northern California Youth Correctional Center (Stockton)

Parole Agent II/Re-entry Coordinator DainetteBowens, Northern California Youth Correctional Center (Stockton)

Correctional Officer SimonRamirez, California State Prison-Sacramento Investigative Services Unit

Psychologist WilliamForeman, Ph.D., California State Prison-Solano (Vacaville)


Employee Recognition
Administrator of the Year: Russ Nichols, Chief of Strategic Offender Management System, Enterprise Information Services


Mental Health Professional of the Year: Dr. Laura Ceballos

Dental Health Professional of the Year: Dr. Michael Barks

Division of Juvenile Justice Officer of the Year: Youth Correctional Officer Robert Lofton, Northern California Youth Correctional Center (Stockton)
Rehabilitation Professional of the Year: Staff Services Manager II Tina Bayles, Division of Rehabilitative Programs

Division of Adult Parole Operations Employee of the Year: Guillermo Viera Rosa

Correctional Officer of the Year: Correctional Officer Macaria Orgazan, California State Prison-Solano (Vacaville)

Correctional Supervisor of the Year: Correctional Lieutenant Tony Thompson, High Desert State Prison (Susanville)

Executive of the Year: Deputy Director Rodger Meier, Division of Rehabilitative Programs