Correctional Officers honored for rescuing citizens

By Marcus Henderson

Three California correctional officers have been honored for using their emergency training to rescue injured citizens.

One motorist layed unconscious in an overturned car on a 100-yard steep embankment. Avenal State Prison Lts. Mike Tuntakit and John Mendiboure broke out a window and used life-saving tactics to resuscitate her, reported the Hanford Sentinel.

“They exemplify a commitment to selfless service day in and day out”

In a separate incident, Correctional Sgt. Stan Tuck was on a trip to the grocery store when he noticed a woman unconscious on the sidewalk. He performed CPR after checking her vital signs. The woman began to breathe again, and Tuck monitored her until paramedics arrived, the article reported.

Lt. Mendiboure, CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan and Lt. Tuntakit
with their Medal of Valor award

“I was kind of puzzled,” Tuck said. “There were people around doing nothing. Something just didn’t look right. I was glad I was there, but I hope I never have to do it again. I do hope I’m there, though, if someone needs me.”

Tuntakit and Mendiboure were carpooling home when they came across a person waving them down for help. A motorist was unresponsive from the wreck, and the car began to smoke. They used a rock to break a window, then pulled the driver out, according to the article.

“For us, we do a lot of training,” Tuntakit said. “And to be able to be in the right place at the right time and put that training to use is a great feeling.”

At the 31st annual Medal of Valor ceremony in Sacramento, Lts. Tuntakit and Mendiboure both received Silver Stars and Sgt. Tuck was awarded a Bronze Star by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR).

The Medal of Valor is earned for bravery or heroism above and beyond the normal demands of correctional duties.

“They exemplify a commitment to selfless service day in and day out,” CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan said. “Our jobs have never been easy. However, we continue meeting the challenges as they arise, sometimes at great personal sacrifice. I am proud to lead our staff as we strive to make the agency a national role model for corrections and rehabilitation.”

At the ceremony Gov. Jerry Brown praised the actions of the employees.

“It’s the people, their character, their virtue and how they treat themselves, their families and their neighbors and who are strengthening our state and country by what they’ve done,” Brown said. “They go above and beyond the call of duty and act in a way that is profoundly humane and gives edification and inspiration to everyone else who hears about it or sees it.”


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