Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

2014 Medal of Merit Recipients


Green Haven Correctional Facility

Medal of Honor
Nicholas R. Dimase, Correction Officer

On April 26, 2013, Correction Officer Dimase responded to a fire alarm in B-Block 6 Company. When he arrived, he noticed thick black smoke coming down the Company and correction officers were evacuating the inmates. Along with other officers who were using extinguishers and a standpipe hose to extinguish the fire, he began assisting with the evacuation.

By now, the smoke from the fire had become so thick that there was no visibility on the Company. Correction Officer Dimase heard the sound of metal extinguishers being dropped on the floor from the back of the Company. With no regard for his own safety, he crawled down the Company through the smoke and found Sergeant Michael Miller who had been overcome with smoke and had collapsed. Correction Officer Dimase dragged Sergeant Miller by his belt through the smoke to the front of the Company where both collapsed from exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

After Sergeant Miller was rescued from the Block, Correction Officer Dimase composed himself and then assisted placing smoke ejectors in the block. Once the incident was under control, both Correction Officer Dimase and Sergeant Miller were taken to the outside hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Officer Dimase also suffered injury to his wrist while Sergeant Miller sustained additional injuries to his throat and lungs.

Correction Officer Dimase’s extraordinary actions certainly saved Sergeant Miller from grave injury and undoubtedly prevented other staff and inmates from injury.

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Bedford Hills Correctional Facility

Medal of Merit
William F. Wiese, Maintenance Assistant

On April 15, 2013, as the Bedford Police were receiving several 911 calls about a possible motor vehicle accident near the Katonah Library in Katonah, NY, William F. Wiese, a maintenance assistant at Bedford Hills, was helping stop a carjacking, saving the victim and detaining the man until the police arrived.

The victim, Mrs. Shoup, told officers that she had just come out of the library and was backing out of her parking spot when a male opened her driver’s door, shoved her across the seat and attempted to take over control of the vehicle. She began to scream and fight back, while attempting to hit the panic button on her key fob.

As the assailant attempted to drive away, Mr. Wiese and a second gentleman came upon the scene. Hearing the screams, both men blocked Mrs. Shoup’s car, jumped out of their vehicles, rushed to rescue the victim and secured the offender inside the car, by holding the doors shut, until the police arrived.

The Town of Bedford Police Department has awarded Mr. Wiese with a certificate of commendation for his courage in intervening in a potentially dangerous situation. Today it is our turn to recognize William Wiese, a Good Samaritan and a great example of the kind of employees who work at DOCCS.

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Shawangunk Correctional Facility

Medal of Merit
Debra Lucchese, Keyboard Specialist 2

On June 17, 2013, Debra Lucchese, a Keyboard Specialist 2 at Shawangunk, was at her home, in Newburgh, NY, when she observed smoke and flames coming from her elderly neighbor’s back deck. Elizabeth Bardin, the neighbor, later recounted that, Ms. Lucchese ran to her front door, pushed it in and ran up the stairs, just as a propane tank in the rear of the house exploded and filled the house with jet black smoke. Mrs. Bardin reports that Ms. Lucchese grabbed her and calmly led her safely out of the house to a neighbor’s lawn, all the while instructing her not to inhale the toxic smoke.

Ms. Lucchese’s actions, without regard for her own safety, can only be described as heroic. In the words of Mrs. Bardin, "I firmly believe that if it wasn’t for her, I would not be here to tell my story."

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Attica Correctional Facility

Medal of Merit
Erwin Emminger, Correction Officer

On September 30, 2013, while driving through the Village of Attica on his way to work, Attica Correction Officer Erwin Emminger noticed a strange flicker in a house window. Following his instinct, he quickly turned around and returned to the house and discovered the house was on fire.

Without hesitation or concern for his own safety, Officer Emminger entered the home, woke all four residents, and escorted them safely out of the burning home. Officer Emminger then went back inside the burning house to try and extinguish the fire. In the process, he sustained injuries to his arm.

At the same time that Correction Officer Emminger was bringing the family safely out of the house, Correction Officer Bradley Walters, who was also on his way to work at Attica, came upon the house fire. Officer Walters stopped, called 911 to report the blaze, and then gathered the children and made sure they were safe and warm by placing them in his truck.

Correction Officer Emminger and Correction Officer Walters proceeded to evacuate the nearby homes of multiple residents. If not for their actions, the fire could have ended in tragedy.

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Attica Correctional Facility

Medal of Merit
Bradley Walters, Correction Officer

On September 30, 2013, while driving through the Village of Attica on his way to work, Attica Correction Officer Erwin Emminger noticed a strange flicker in a house window. Following his instinct, he quickly turned around and returned to the house and discovered the house was on fire.

Without hesitation or concern for his own safety, Officer Emminger entered the home, woke all four residents, and escorted them safely out of the burning home. Officer Emminger then went back inside the burning house to try and extinguish the fire. In the process, he sustained injuries to his arm.

At the same time that Correction Officer Emminger was bringing the family safely out of the house, Correction Officer Bradley Walters, who was also on his way to work at Attica, came upon the house fire. Officer Walters stopped, called 911 to report the blaze, and then gathered the children and made sure they were safe and warm by placing them in his truck.

Correction Officer Emminger and Correction Officer Walters proceeded to evacuate the nearby homes of multiple residents. If not for their actions, the fire could have ended in tragedy.

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