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Medal of Valor Nominations

Special Act / Special Service Award Nomination Package

Program Information

 The Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor Award is the highest honor the state of California bestows upon its employees.  It is awarded to individuals, on or off duty, who perform an act of heroism above and beyond the call of duty to save the life of another person or state property.  The Special Act and Special Service awards are honorary and consist of a gold or silver medal, a certificate signed by the Governor, a citation describing the heroic act or service, and lapel pin.  The awards are presented by the Governor at a ceremony in Sacramento.

The following outlines the criteria for the awards: 

A Special Service (Silver) is an act of heroism by a state employee extending above and beyond the normal call of duty or service, performed at personal risk to his/her safety to save human life or state property.

A Special Act (Gold) is an extraordinary act of heroism by a state employee extending far above and beyond the normal call of duty or service, performed at great risk to his/her own life in an effort to save human life.

The nominee must be a California state employee and the nomination must: 

  • Originate from the nominee’s department (others may recommend a department employee be nominated)
  • Be substantiated with documentation
  • Be approved by the department director
  • Explain/detail the risk to the nominee while performing the heroic act or service​

Award Nomination Process

The deadline to submit a nomination is September 9, 2022​​.  

Please read and follow these instructions carefully.  Failure to provide requested information and documentation will delay processing and may result in the nomination being denied.

The nomination package must include: 

The citation is a summary of the heroic act or service.  It is reviewed and edited by CalHR staff.  The final document is read at the ceremony and provided to the recipient as part of the award package. 

The format for the citation is as follows: 

  •  Page set-up: 8 ½ x 11 sheet of paper with 1” margins (top, bottom, left, and right).
  •  Font: Arial, Size 12.
  •  Spacing: Double spaced.
  •  Length: Maximum 1 and 1/2 pages (sorry, no exceptions). 
  • Provide the date, the place and time, if known.  Please do not use military time. 

Sample citations:


Performed by


Manager I

California Department of Motor Vehicles 

On February 18, 2011, at approximately 12:30 p.m., a Hollywood DMV employee was helping a female customer renew her driver’s license.  The customer was given a temporary license and advised that the actual license would be mailed to the address she provided on the application.  When she heard this, the woman became infuriated, banged the counter with her fist, and stormed away. As she approached the building exit, she suddenly grabbed an innocent woman by the hair and started punching her in the face.  The victim was waiting for her husband who was taking a test and just happened to be sitting near the exit.  Lobby employees notified Manager I, Nedra Cartwright-May.  Ms. Cartwright-May immediately responded and pulled the woman off the victim.  Ms. Cartwright-May took the woman’s car keys as she attempted to leave the building, and contained her until the Los Angeles Police Department arrived and arrested her for battery.  Witnesses at the scene said they did not intervene because they thought the woman might have a gun or a knife.  The State of California takes great pride in presenting this Silver Medal of Valor to DMV Manager I, Nedra Cartwright-May. 



Performed by

Patrol Lieutenant

California Department of Fish and Wildlife 

On July 24, 2013, at approximately 7:45 p.m., Patrol Lieutenant Carmelo A. Spada was off duty in Chowchilla, riding his mountain bike under the Highway 99 Bridge, when a woman came running out screaming, “My baby was swept away, help me!”  Lt. Spada immediately dropped his bike and dove into the swift water.
He swam downstream and spotted the two little girls in the water, hanging onto a tree branch.  He swam to them, but realized he couldn’t rescue both at the same time.  He decided to take the smallest girl first.  He placed her arms around his neck, swam to the opposite side of the slough, and placed her in a safe spot out of the water.  He then ran back upstream, reentered the water, and swam downstream until he reached the second girl.  Lt. Spada helped her untangle herself from the tree branches, placed her arms around his neck, and swam her to safety too. The Chowchilla Police department had responded to the scene for a possible drowning or swift water rescue, so Lt. Spada turned the girls and their mother over them.  The girls were treated for hypothermia and shock and released back to their mother.  The State of California takes great pride in presenting this Gold Medal of Valor to Patrol Lieutenant Carmelo A. Spada. 

More Information

Please contact your departmental Merit Award Administrator or CalHR’s Merit Award Program Manager, at

  Updated: 8/9/2016
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