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Medal of Valor

​​​​The Governor's State Employee Medal of Valor is the highest honor California bestows upon its employees. In a public ceremony the Governor awards gold or silver medals to state employees who risked their lives to save others or state property. Since the program began in 1958, 640 medals have been awarded to state employees in many different professions. 


Special Service Award (Silver Medal)

For 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 or her safety to save human life or state property.

Special Act Award (Gold Medal)

For 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 or her own life in an effort to save human life.

Nomination Process

  • The nominator reviews the Medal of Valor Nomination webpage for instructions.
  • If the heroic act or service meets the criteria, the nominator downloads and completes the CalHR-012 Nomination Form.
  • The nominator submits the completed package to their departmental Merit Award Administrator (MAA). 
  • The MAA reviews the nomination, and if necessary, requests additional documentation.
  • The MAA forwards the finalized nomination package to the department director for approval.
  • If approved, the MAA forwards the complete nomination package to CalHR.
  • CalHR staff reviews it for completeness; if necessary, they will request additional information or documentation.
  • Once completed, the Merit Award Board (MAB) receives the nomination and renders a decision.
  • The MAB’s decision and the nomination package is forwarded to the CalHR Director for a final decision.
  • CalHR notifies the department of the Director’s decision.

Award Ceremony

CalHR coordinates the award ceremony with the Governor's Office and the participating departments. ​

2022 Governor's State Employee Medal of Valor Virtual Award Ceremony​​

Past Medal of Valor Awardees

To search for awardees by department, last name, first name, or year awarded, please see:  

More Information

For more information, please contact your departmental Merit Award Administrator or CalHR's Merit Award Program Manager, at​

  Updated: 11/23/2022
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