NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision 

Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor
Brian Fischer, Commissioner

Contact: Peter K. Cutler
Office of Public Information
(518) 457-8182

For immediate release:

Wednesday, June 14, 2011


DOCCS Commissioner, Deputy Secretary to the Governor Present Medals to Four Correctional Employees; Ceremony Also Honors 35 Who Died in the Line of Duty

ALBANY - Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Commissioner Brian Fischer, joined by Elizabeth Glazer, Deputy Secretary to the Governor for Public Safety, awarded four medals today to Correctional Services employees for humanitarian and courageous acts, while honoring the memory of employees who have died in the line of duty since 1861.

The 12th annual Memorial Service and Medals Ceremony took place at 1 p.m. at the Department’s Albany Training Academy on New Scotland Road. Medal of Merit recipients (with full citations available at 4 p.m. at http://www.doccs.ny.gov/PressRel/11MemorialMedals/MedalCitations2011.html) are:

  • Correction Officer Jean Gagnon of Riverview Correctional Facility (St. Lawrence County), while on vacation, helped apprehend two individuals responsible for a homicide in a wooded area near the Hoover Dam. By preserving the crime scene, Correction Officer Gagnon's actions allowed the homicide division of the Las Vegas Police Department to quickly apprehend two murderers.
  • Correction Officer's Thomas Makeyenko, John Matyas and Louis Petricca of Gowanda Correctional Facility (Erie County) witnessed an accident on Interstate 90 and helped extract the driver from his vehicle before it became fully engulfed in flames. Their immediate actions were instrumental in ensuring that the victim of this accident received prompt medical attention, which could have saved is life. Sadly, the victim succumbed to his injuries approximately two weeks later.

Photographs from the ceremony will be available this afternoon at http://www.doccs.ny.gov/PressRel/11MemorialMedals/index.html

In a message, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said: “It is fitting that we pay tribute to all of the dedicated men and women at the Department who serve our State’s residents and ensure the safety and security of our communities.

“The four officers receiving Medals of Merit are outstanding representatives of the more than 30,000 employees of the newly merged Department, a nationally-recognized leader in corrections and community supervision. I thank all of the employees of the Department who maintain outstanding standards of service to their fellow citizens.”

Deputy Secretary Glazer said: “Today we honor the members of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision who made the ultimate sacrifice in their service to the people of this state, and celebrate the heroism and dedication of four members from the Gowanda and Riverview Correctional Facilities. Because of their hard work and dedication, our correctional system is one of the safest in the nation. On behalf of Governor Cuomo, I thank them for their selfless service.”

Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said, “New York’s corrections professionals exhibit great strength and courage both at work in our facilities and at home in our communities. I join everyone today in expressing my gratitude to this year’s Medal of Merit recipients for their service in some of the most difficult workplaces, and I am especially appreciative of the sacrifices made by those who died in the line of duty.”

Assemblyman Jeffrion L. Aubry said, “Today and every day the men and women who work in our facilities are our heroes. Those who have given their lives, and those who have risked their lives as today’s award recipients have, make every New Yorker proud, and make every New Yorker safer. Today we recognize, honor, and extend our appreciation to these courageous employees of Gowanda and Riverview Correctional Facilities, and to each and every employee of the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, over 30,000 employees strong, who sacrifice daily for this state to make the great State of New York a safer and better place for us and our children.”

Commissioner Fischer said: "As a newly merged agency now supervising over 91,000 offenders, the perils of our work environment remain a reality in our lives, but so too do the rewards we take away from serving the citizens of our state. And while we often see the worst aspects of the human condition, we also see the best. Today's ceremony pays fitting tribute to our colleagues who paid the ultimate sacrifice protecting the safety of all New Yorkers and we also honor our fellow corrections professionals who selflessly came to the aid of others, following the principals and training that have made them outstanding members of our Department. So long as we remember those who came before us, and take notice of those who have stepped up and acted with honor as our medal awardees have done, we will not only continue, but also advance our efforts to operate the best correctional and parole system in the country."

The annual ceremony takes place at the Academy's 50-acre Albany campus. Since 1984, the Department has awarded 106 medals of merit and 46 medals of honor. The centerpiece of the memorial park in front of the Academy is an Empire blue granite memorial that stands 12 feet high, 6 feet wide, 18 inches deep and weighs 19,711 pounds. The names of fallen employees are enshrined with plaques displayed in the Academy Memorial Room. Governor Cuomo's proclamation of June 12-18, 2011 as "Corrections and Community Supervision Employee Week" is also on display there.