Thirty-one state employees have been awarded the Medal of Valor for extraordinary acts of bravery and heroism that included the rescue of two people caught in a car that had plunged into Lake Mendocino and the shooting of a suspect who tried to run down a CHP officer with a car.
The honors, officially known as the Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor, were awarded last month in special ceremonies hosted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The acts that prompted the awards occurred between 2003 and 2007.
“I am proud to award the Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor to these 31 amazing California citizens,” said Schwarzenegger. “These professionals come from different departments and agencies within our state government, but what they all have in common is their incredible bravery. The men and women we are honoring today are true heroes in every sense of the word.”
All 31 employees who received the awards were also honored at the Capitol Christmas tree lighting ceremony, with an ornament hung on the tree to pay tribute to each employee. Last year, the governor renamed the Capitol Christmas tree the “Tree of Heroes” in honor of the Medal of Valor recipients.
The Medal of Valor, which started in 1959, is the highest honor that California bestows upon its public servants and is awarded to California state employees who have performed an extraordinary act of heroism above and beyond the normal call of duty, at great risk to their own personal safety or life, to save the life of another. Award nominations are made by the employee’s department.
The employees being honored and listed below represent the Department of Conservation, Department of Fish and Game, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, California Highway Patrol, Department of Mental Health, Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Transportation.
Here is a list of the recipients:
Department of Conservation
• Dave Longstreth of Ukiah, who rescued two passengers from a car that was sinking 100 feet offshore in Lake Mendocino on April 28, 2006.
Department of Fish and Game
• James Jones of Suisun City, who prevented injury to a CHP officer by shooting the suspect who was attempting to run over the officer with his vehicle on Dec. 3, 2003.
• Adam Kavanagh of Diamond Springs and John Nores of San Martin, who rescued a fellow warden who was shot and wounded during a marijuana eradication detail on Aug. 5, 2005.
• Frank Milazzo of Mariposa, who helped subdue an armed, suicidal and homicidal man on Dec. 2, 2006.
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
• David Shew of St. Helena, who stopped a suicidal man from jumping off a freeway overpass on April 27, 2007.
• Richard “Rick” Moore of Sanger, who helped three citizens to safety during a fire on July 3, 2006.
• Jacklyn Bowes, Kelley DeGifford and William Smith, all of Perris, who rescued and evacuated a mother and son from their home during the Emerald Fire on Aug. 29, 2006.
• Ignacio Otero Jr. of Perris, who protected a fellow firefighter from great bodily harm or possibly death during a structural fire on May 9, 2007.
California Highway Patrol
• Erik Quisenberry of Willows, who saved a woman and stopped a knife attack on April 12, 2005.
• Duane Greaver of Santa Ana, Timothy Hall of San Juan Capistrano and Peter Sutherland of Los Angeles, who rescued a suicidal person from a burning vehicle on June 8, 2005.
• Brent Weese of Crescent City, who rescued a woman from a fast-moving grass fire on July 3, 2006.
• Jude Donahue of Los Angeles, who attempted to rescue a man from a burning motor home on Aug. 26, 2006.
• Brian Scott Bushey of South Lake Tahoe, who prevented a woman from drowning in a near-freezing creek on Nov. 3, 2006.
• Brian Elledge of Vacaville, who rescued a man trapped in his burning vehicle on Dec. 2, 2006.
• Corben Whitney of Fresno, who rescued a 4-year-old boy from a burning vehicle on July 13, 2007.
Department of Mental Health
• Clifford Kozlowski of Coalinga and Stanley Streeter of Lemoore, who rescued a state hospital canine unit from drowning in a wastewater treatment pond on Dec. 14, 2006.
• Phillip Scott Nixon of Napa, who prevented an attempted carjacking and robbery on Jan. 22, 2007.
Department of Motor Vehicles
• Nathaniel Williams of Stockton, who rescued an unconscious man from a burning vehicle on Feb. 8, 2007.
Department of Transportation
• Timothy Mooney of Upper Lake, who rescued a severely injured man trapped in the trunk of a car on Jan. 13, 2007.
• Stephen Maraviov of Hayfork, who rescued a woman trapped in her vehicle on a steep embankment for 14 hours on Nov. 24, 2004.
• Chris Ball of Sierraville, who rescued a man trapped in his vehicle after a massive mudslide on Dec. 31, 2005.
• John Fitzgerald of Madera and Anand Kapoor of Fresno, who rescued a woman trapped in her burning vehicle after a traffic accident on May 4, 2006.
• Wayne Moeck and Charles Russell, both of San Diego, who rescued several people from a house fire and also extinguished the fire on Jan. 10, 2007.