Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Corrections and Community Supervision
Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor
Anthony J. Annucci, Acting Commissioner

Contact: Thomas W. Mailey
Office of Public Information
(518) 457-8182
Thomas.Mailey@doccs.ny.gov
www.doccs.ny.gov

For immediate release:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS AND COMMUNITY SUPERVISION
HONORS CURRENT EMPLOYEES, REMEMBERS FALLEN COMRADES DURING 14TH ANNUAL MEMORIAL SERVICE & MEDALS CEREMONY

DOCCS Acting Commissioner and Assistant Deputy Secretary to the Governor
Present Medals to Four Correctional Employees; Ceremony Also Honors 42 Who Died in the Line of Duty

ALBANY - The New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision Acting Commissioner, Anthony J. Annucci, joined by Assistant Deputy Secretary for Public Safety, Mary Kavaney, today awarded four Medals of Merit to DOCCS employees for humanitarian and courageous acts, while honoring the memory of employees who have died in the line of duty since 1861.

In a message to those gathered, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said: “Today, as is tradition, this solemn ceremony commemorates the dedication and professionalism displayed by individuals of remarkable courage. This year’s honorees are outstanding representatives of the more than 29,000 employees at DOCCS, which is recognized nationwide as a leader in corrections and community supervision. I thank everyone at the Department for upholding the highest standards of public service to New York State.”

The 14th annual Memorial Service and Medals Ceremony took place at 1 p.m. at the Department’s Albany Training Academy on New Scotland Road. Related materials, including the full citations, is available on line at http://www.doccs.ny.gov/PressRel/13MemorialMedals/index.html

Medal of Merit:

Upstate Correctional Facility (Franklin County) Deputy Superintendent for Security Donald Uhler heard the call no one ever wants to hear “officer down.” Those words sent this trained EMS responder running to the scene, and finding Correction Officer Ray Drake collapsed and experiencing a cardiac event. Deputy Superintendent Uhler sprang into action, utilized the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) while directing others to assist. He continued to guide the nursing staff in tending to Drake’s needs until the ambulance arrived and transported him to a nearby hospital. Because of the fast actions of Deputy Superintendent Uhler, Correction Officer Drake has recovered and returned to full duty.

Correction Officer Scott Stedner was patrolling the perimeter at Eastern New York Correctional Facility (Ulster County) when he came upon a one-car accident. A vehicle, with a mother and her three children inside, had hydroplaned about 100 feet off the road, landing in a running stream. Stedner jumped from his patrol vehicle and waded into the water safely getting all four passengers out and onto dry land, and then getting them to emergency personnel.

Correction Officers Joseph Poissant and Mark Dubrey of Altona Correctional Facility (Clinton County), without fear for their own safety, raced into a burning barn and, using extinguishers they located in the smoke-filled building, were able to keep the fire at bay while the livestock inside were safely evacuated. According to the Chazy Fire Chief, due to the phenomenal efforts of the two Correction Officers, not only were the valuable farm animals saved so was the historic barn.

At this year’s Memorial Service a new name was added to the memorial to those who have died in the line of duty - Eastern New York Correctional Facility Correction Officer Casimiro Pomales. Officer Pomales, while operating a transportation van on an emergency medical trip, was forced off the highway and down an embankment, resulting in the vehicle being overturned. He suffered severe injuries and later died at the Kingston City Hospital.

Assistant Deputy Secretary for Public Safety Mary Kavaney said, “One of our noblest duties as public servants is to remember those who came before us. We honor their service and commitment to the daunting and at times dangerous duties they perform each day. It is my privilege to recognize true bravery and courage of these individuals both present and past.”

NYS Assemblyman Daniel J. O’Donnell (D–Morningside Heights) said, “Today we honor four exemplary employees of New York’s Department of Correction and Community Supervision. The incredible bravery and quick action of these Corrections professionals saved lives and were invaluable in dealing with dangerous situations. They are all deserving of this great honor. Today we also remember those employees who gave their lives in the line of duty, and thank them from our hearts for their sacrifice.”

NYS Senator Kathleen Marchione (R,C-Halfmoon) said, “New York is a much safer, more secure place thanks to the courage, dedication and professionalism of our Corrections Officers who have shown uncommon courage in the line of duty. New York’s Corrections System is a model for the nation, and the world, precisely because of the Corrections Officers who are the true unsung heroes of our criminal justice system. I am truly humbled to be in the presence of the heroes we honor today, and offer my prayers and condolences in memory of Correction Officer Casimiro Pomales, and all of our fallen Corrections Officers. On behalf of all New Yorkers, I want to personally thank all of our Corrections professionals for their service and for keeping us safe.”

Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci said, “For the 14th consecutive year, we have gathered to remember the 42 men and women who gave their lives in the line of duty. They are true examples of the DOCCS employees, who everyday work to maintain the safety and security of our facilities and communities. We also award Medals of Merit to four fellow members of our Department, whose selfless actions earned them this well deserved honor. We recognize the courage and conviction exhibited as we take on the daily challenges of our agency.”

The annual ceremony takes place at the Academy’s 50-acre Albany campus. Since 1984, the Department has awarded 114 medals of merit and 47 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 9-15, 2013 as “Corrections and Community Supervision Employee Week” is also on display there. Photographs from the ceremony will be available by evening.