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News Archive 2016

​State Honors 15 with Medal of Valor, Highest Honor Given to State Employees

April 12, 2016

SACRAMENTO – The State of California today honored 15 state workers with the Medal of Valor for demonstrating extraordinary acts of bravery and heroism in order to save the life of another.

Governor Brown’s Cabinet Secretary Keely Bosler presented the 15 honorees, from five different state departments, with the Medal of Valor. The award is the highest honor that California can bestow on its public servants.

Also attending the ceremony were Government Operations Secretary Marybel Batjer, Natural Resources Secretary John Laird and Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly. Award nominations are made by each employee’s department and recipients are selected by the director of the Department of Human Resources (CalHR).

“All Californians should be grateful to the state workers who performed these heroic actions.” said CalHR Director Richard Gillihan. “Public service is a noble profession and these individuals represent the very best in the state.”

The recipients received their Medal of Valor for actions both on and off-duty. Actions taken by this year’s recipients include: rescuing a pilot and student pilot from a burning airplane; diving into the Colorado River to rescue two 6-month-old babies and a women after their boat capsized; saving a suicidal motorist from jumping off of a transition road and into traffic; and rescuing an 11-month-old, her grandmother and another elderly woman during the Valley Fire.

On March 6, 1959, the first gold Medal of Valor was presented to CHP Officer Robert W. Walker by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Senior. Officer Walker entered a burning house and rescued a two year old boy who was left all alone that night. Officer Walker’s heroic act set the standard for this prestigious award and began a proud legacy. Since 1959, 523 California state employees from 28 different departments have received a Medal of Valor.

See the attached list for the names of all 15 awardees and contact information for their departments.


News Release Contact

Lynda Gledhill

(916) 651-9028

List of Awardees

​California Highway Patrol

Contact: (916) 843-3310

Officer Brett Peters

Department of Fish and Wildlife

Contact: (916) 322-8988

Timothy Little
Ryan Stephenson

Department of Motor Vehicles

Contact: (916) 657-6437

Jose Peñate

​Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

Contact: (916) 202-6748

John D. Guthrie
Douglas Mackey
John Messina
Johnny Miller
Justin Schmollinger
Emilio Valencia
Jim Wright

Department of Transportation

Contact: (916) 657-5060

David Ackley
Dain Hartman
Steve Hellon
Mark E. Johnson

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