NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision 

Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

2013 Medal of Merit Recipients

Upstate Correctional Facility

Medal of Merit
Donald Uhler, Deputy Superintendent for Security

On June 25, 2012, the emergency call no one ever wants to hear “officer down” rang out from 11 Building at Upstate Correctional Facility. Correction Officer Ray Drake had collapsed while on duty. Staff immediately responded, assessed he was experiencing a possible seizure, and provided comfort.

Deputy Superintendent for Security Uhler responded to 11 Building from the Administration Building. Upon arrival he recognized from his extensive training that Correction Officer Drake was experiencing a cardiac event. Deputy Superintendent Uhler sprang into action calling upon his experience as an EMS responder he utilized the AED while directing others to assist. Correction Officer Drake was shocked three times while en route to the infirmary. While awaiting local ambulance response, Deputy Superintendent Uhler directed nursing staff in tending to Officer Drake’s needs. The rescue squad arrived and transported Correction Officer Drake to Alice Hyde Hospital.

In the days following it was determined that without Deputy Superintendent Uhler’s quick intervention and decisive actions Correction Officer Drake may not have survived. Correction Officer Drake has since recovered and returned to full duty.

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Eastern Correctional Facility

Medal of Merit
Scott Stedner, Correction Officer

On May 8, 2012, Correction Officer Scott Stedner, while working his vehicle perimeter patrol post at Eastern New York Correctional Facility, came upon a one-car accident near the intersection of Berme Road and Institution Road. It appeared that the vehicle may have hydroplaned on the rain soaked road and slid approximately 100 feet into a running stream. Correction Officer Stedner immediately alerted the facility of the accident, as he was running to help the occupants of the car. He discovered a woman and her three children inside the vehicle. The driver’s door was jammed closed.

Without hesitation Correction Officer Stedner waded into the water and was able to get all four passengers out of the vehicle and onto dry land. He then loaded everyone into his vehicle and brought them to the nearby Credit Union building where they were cared for until emergency personnel arrived.

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Altona Correctional Facility

Medal of Merit
Mark Dubrey, Correction Officer
Joseph Poissant, Correction Officer

On the morning of April 26, 2012, Correction Officers Joseph Poissant and Mark Dubrey were on their way to work at the Altona Correctional Facility when they saw smoke billowing from a barn at the Miner Institute Research Facility.

The officers instinctively drove up to the barn to assess the situation. Correction Officer Poissant could hear the sound of livestock in distress, bellowing from inside. Knowing that animals were trapped, both Correction Officers ran to one of the barn doors. Using their training, they felt the door for heat and looked for flames. Correction Officer Dubrey tried to enter the building but was driven back by the thick smoke. The Correction Officers tried another door and were able to get into the barn, now joined by staff from the Miner Institute. They could see flames shooting up the walls and into the ceiling. Without fear for their own safety the two Correction Officers, working together, found fire extinguishers and were able to keep the flames at bay while Miner Institute staff were able to free all of the livestock.

The Chazy Fire Chief called the Correction Officers “phenomenal” and largely credited their efforts with not only saving the livestock but also the building which is a historical site built in 1906.

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