Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

Medal of Honor citation for:

Auburn Principal Stores Clerk Anthony Rebich

While performing his duties in the facility storehouse on the afternoon of July 7, 2006, Mr. Rebich heard a strange commotion coming from an isolated corridor which leads from the storehouse to the mess hall kitchen. Upon investigating, Mr. Rebich encountered a convicted rapist assaulting a female civilian employee who was face down on the floor with the inmate seated on her back. He would later learn that the inmate attempted to tie her hands and place a towel in her mouth in order to quiet her. She was punched in the face and the inmate pulled her hair while threatening her life.

Mr. Rebich yelled out at the inmate which gained the inmate's attention and caused him to stop the assault. The inmate left the female employee, charged at Mr. Rebich, and a struggle ensued. Mr. Rebich was punched in the face and fell to floor as the inmate quickly fled the scene with Mr. Rebich in chase. Noting the location of the inmate's exit, Mr. Rebich stopped the chase and went to the assistance of the injured employee.

Once the situation was under control, Mr. Rebich, who sustained a concussion during the incident, went to the mess hall area and successfully identified the violent perpetrator in the attack. Criminal charges and departmental discipline then followed.

Mr. Rebich, you displayed bravery and courage by willingly placing yourself in harm's way to ensure the safety of a fellow employee in dire need of assistance.

Age: 45
Date entered state service: 3-9-89
Date at current facility: 12-8-05

Medal of Merit citation for:

Ogdensburg Correction Officer Mark Palmer

After finishing his work shift and returning to his home in the Town of Morristown at approximately 4:00 p.m. on August 1, 2006, Correction Officer Mark Palmer received a troubling request for assistance. Sally Woodley, an elderly neighbor, ran several street blocks from the St. Lawrence River to Officer Palmer's home looking for his help. Sally alerted Officer Palmer that she, along with her 70-year-old sister Shirley DeLosh, went swimming with their life preservers in the St. Lawrence River. That refreshing swim wasn't unusual for the two - until that day when Officer Palmer's neighbor lost sight of her sister.

Immediately upon learning of this emergency, Officer Palmer drove his motorcycle to the location where Ms. DeLosh disappeared in the river. He entered the rough waters and began swimming toward Ms. DeLosh after spotting her. Once he reached her, he pulled her from the dark waters and started CPR in an attempt to resuscitate her. Officer Palmer was cold and he was exhausted, but he would not give up on Ms. DeLosh. He knew he had to continue to fight for her life until emergency response teams could take over. When medical personnel arrived, they took her to the Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center and, despite Officer Palmer's heroic efforts, Shirley DeLosh was pronounced dead. As a result of his exhaustive actions, Officer Palmer required hospital treatment for chest pain and numbness in his arms and Ms. Woodley required treatment as well. What started out as a normal day, had turned tragic.

Officer Palmer, you displayed bravery and courage by willingly placing yourself in harm's way, a fact undiminished by the unfortunate death of Ms. DeLosh.

Age: 44
Date entered state service: 6-20-83
Date at current facility: 6-7-84

Medal of Merit citation for:

Attica Correction Officer James Liberatore

While driving home from work on the afternoon of November 8, 2006, Correction Officer James Liberatore observed a cluster of people huddled on the roadside at the Southwestern Boulevard Bridge in West Seneca. Assuming there may have been a car accident, he stopped to determine if he could be of any assistance. Instead, he stumbled on an even more alarming situation. He observed an elderly woman crouched on the bridge railing, rocks were 100 feet below her and she was threatening suicide. At the moment, another woman had the would-be-jumper's attention and was attempting to talk her out of harming herself. Officer Liberatore, in a desperate attempt to save her life, came up behind the distraught woman, wrapped his arms around her, and pulled her to safety.

Officer Liberatore, you displayed bravery and courage by willingly placing yourself in harm's way to ensure the safety of an individual in dire need of assistance.

Age: 45
Date entered state service: 2-24-86
Date at current facility: 11-6-86

Medal of Merit citation for:

Woodbourne Correction Officer Ryan Bowers

At approximately 5:40 p.m. on March 28, 2006, Liberty Police Officer Donald Decker received notification about a dispute in the city involving a number of individuals. Upon his arrival, he learned that the crowd had already disbursed. While conducting interviews with the bystanders, several of the initial combatants returned to the area. Police Officer Decker started to question one of the many fighters involved in the dispute and the situation quickly deteriorated. The Police Officer was instantly surrounded by a large group of individuals and the Officer was struck from behind by one or more individuals in an attempt to stop the Officer from carrying out his duties to make an arrest. The individuals resisted arrest and the crowd escalated to approximately 20-25 individuals, while many of them attempted to cause damage to the local storefronts.

While this situation continued to grow with intense emotion, the Police Officer called for police backup. Coincidentally, off-duty Correction Officer Ryan Bowers was driving by the area and the situation caught his eye. Without hesitation, Correction Officer Bowers stopped, identified himself to the Police Officer, and offered much welcomed assistance to quell this incident. Officer Bowers acted quickly and selflessly and assisted in the arrests of several individuals. With certainty, Correction Officer Bower's actions helped avert injury to the Police Officer, limit damage to the local properties, and was instrumental in quickly gaining control of the gloomy situation.

The following week Superintendent Cunningham received a letter from the Chief of Police. The letter stated, in part, "Officer Ryan Bower's conduct was courageous and above and beyond the call of duty. Officer Bowers is a credit to your department and an asset to law enforcement. I commend him for his professionalism and thoughtfulness."

Officer Bowers, you displayed bravery and courage by willingly placing yourself in harm's way to assist a fellow law enforcement member in dire need of assistance.

Age: 27
Date entered state service: 10-27-03
Date at current facility: 5-13-04