NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision 

Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Eliot Spitzer, Governor
Brian Fischer, Commissioner

Contact: Erik Kriss
Office of Public Information
(518) 457-8182

For immediate release:

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Prison Commissioner awards medals to four employees who placed themselves in harm's way;
Ceremony also honors employees who died in the line of duty

Department of Correctional Services Commissioner Brian Fischer awarded four medals to employees for their outstanding acts while honoring the memory of fallen employees who have died in the line of duty since 1861.

The Memorial Service and Medals Ceremony was held at 4:00 p.m. at the Albany Training Academy on New Scotland Road in Albany.

Commissioner Fischer said, "The medal nominees honored today demonstrated impressive acts of courage toward a colleague and to individuals within our communities. While clearly placing themselves at personal risk, each individual made a difficult decision to get involved - to take action. To you we are grateful. And to the 35 individuals who gave the ultimate sacrifice and died as a result of inmate actions, our appreciation is given to each one of you - we thank you each and every day."

Award recipients (with full citations available at www.doccs.ny.gov/PressRel/07MemorialMedals/MedalCitations2007.htm) are:

  • Principal Stores Clerk Anthony Rebich of Auburn. He earned the Medal of Honor by rescuing a female civilian during an assault by an inmate in an isolated corridor.
  • Correction Officer Mark Palmer of Ogdensburg. He earned the Medal of Merit for attempting to save the life of an elderly woman from the rough waters of the St. Lawrence River.
  • Correction Officer James Liberatore of Attica. He earned the Medal of Merit for successfully pulling a woman from the southwestern Boulevard Bridge while she was threatening suicide.
  • Correction Officer Ryan Bowers of Woodbourne. He earned the Medal of Merit for assisting the Liberty Police Department during a street disturbance.

In a message, Governor Spitzer said, "I commend all of our correctional services employees for their valuable public service and faithful allegiance to the high standards that are upheld by New York's law enforcement community."

The annual ceremony takes place at the permanent memorial park in front of the Academy building on the 50-acre Albany campus. The centerpiece of the memorial park in front of the Academy is an Empire blue granite memorial that stands 12 feet high, six feet wide, 18 inches deep and weighs 19,711 pounds. Rather than engraving the names of fallen employees on the memorial stone, they are enshrined with plaques displayed in the Academy Memorial Room. Governor Spitzer's proclamation of June 3-9, 2007, as "Correctional Services Employee Week" is also on display there.