The State of California recently honored 11 California Department of Transportation employees with the State Employee Medal of Valor award; the highest honor California bestows on its public servants. The awards are given to state employees for acts of heroism that go beyond the normal call of duty and at great personal risk to protect state property or save lives.
[Above photo by Caltrans]
“These 11 Caltrans workers courageously saved others while putting their own lives at risk and we’re honoring them and showing our gratitude for their selfless acts,” noted Tony Tavares, director of Caltrans, in a statement. “We are extremely proud that they are part of our Caltrans family.”
The 11 Caltrans workers given California’s “Medal of Valor” awards are:
- Landscape Maintenance Worker Brian Rubalcava and Highway Maintenance Worker Jason Lofton: They received the “Silver Medal of Valor” for their heroic act during a dangerous rescue in extreme cold weather down steep terrain to save a couple after their vehicle went over a snow-covered embankment in Siskiyou County on December 19, 2021.
- Equipment Operators Jeremy Maraviov, Scott Davidson, and Trevor Gipson: They received the “Silver Medal of Valor” for saving a father and young son after their car went down a steep embankment in Trinity County on December 26, 2021.
- Highway Maintenance Worker Nicholas Macias and Equipment Operator Robert Hernandez: Both received the “Silver Medal of Valor” for saving a man trapped inside a burning vehicle in Merced on August 3, 2022.
- Equipment Operator Roberto Lopez: He received the “Gold Medal of Valor” for rescuing a colleague who was trapped in a burning vehicle after an incident with a cargo truck in San Diego County on May 26, 2022.
- Maintenance Area Superintendent Cody Collins and Transportation Engineering Technician Jeffrey Scardine: Both received the “Silver Medal of Valor” for rescuing a student who fell while taking a bank scaling and rock-climbing course in Kingvale on October 6, 2022. The student was dangling by rope, putting him into a life-threatening situation. Collins and Scardine quickly assessed the situation, rappelled, and transferred the student safely to the ground – saving his life.
- Highway Maintenance Worker William Miller: He received the “Silver Medal of Valor” for rescuing a woman after her vehicle struck Miller’s in the early morning of January 21, 2020, in Placer County. Despite his injuries, he selflessly saved the woman in the other vehicle before both vehicles were engulfed in flames.
Governor Edmund G. Brown Sr. presented California’s very first “Medal of Valor” awards in 1959. Since then, more than 700 state employees, including 116 Caltrans employees, have earned the honor for their courage and selflessness in the face of danger.