SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) honored 113 employees today during its 32nd 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.

“These individuals have demonstrated valor and courage in the face of real danger,” said Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., who gave opening remarks at the ceremony. “The Medal of Valor we give today is given to people who in the face of danger for their own lives met the test and did what they had to do. They let duty prevail over fear.”

“We should all take inspiration from those who did exactly what they needed to do to have a great Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and also to have a great society.”

Today, Deuel Vocational Institution Correctional Officer Kevin Machado was honored with the Medal of Valor for his brave actions when he subdued a knife-wielding man who was threatening employees and shoppers at a local Costco last year. Employees of the Modesto store had attempted to force the assailant out of the store by creating a barricade with shopping carts and other objects, but the man was still a danger to the public outside. Officer Machado approached the man outside the store, drew his concealed weapon, identified himself as a peace officer and ordered the man to drop the knife.  The man refused to comply and began lunging at Officer Machado, jabbing the knife in Machado’s direction. Officer Machado courageously fired a single shot, wounding the attacker and stopping the assault.

“The Medal of Valor is the highest honor we can bestow upon our officers, and I am so proud of the selfless actions and dedication to the community of our honorees,” said CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan. “Their courage, bravery and commitment under extreme conditions went beyond the normal demands of correctional service. For all our recipients today, your hard work embodies the spirit of our department, and I am privileged and honored to work beside you.”

This year’s second Medal of Valor recipient is CDCR Transportation Unit Correctional Sergeant Timothy Reynolds, who rescued victims of a four-vehicle crash as their vehicle teetered on the edge of a 60-foot drop. When Sergeant Reynolds and his unit came across the crash, he risked his own safety to rescue the victims just after an adjacent vehicle exploded in flames. Reynolds’ quick action and courage helped save the victims from serious injury or even death.

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.

For a complete list of 2017 award winners, visit https://goo.gl/UNWwX2.