From pulling a 20-month-old baby out of a pool and performing lifesaving CPR, to bolstering the agency’s chaplain program and to serving with distinction for nearly 50 years at the agency, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department honored 48 of its own at the 29th Medal of Valor luncheon March 23.
In a ceremony that brought nearly 1,000 attendees to the Anaheim Hilton, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens talked about the importance of recognizing outstanding work as well as the need for law enforcement agencies nationwide to continue to work to improve police/community relations.
“We know that to be successful in our public safety efforts, we need strong community partnerships and trust,” Hutchens told attendees, who included current and past members of the OCSD command staff, current and retired chiefs from numerous agencies, and civic and other political leaders.
Said Hutchens: “I stand up here feeling such pride for this wonderful department. Today’s recipients have repeatedly proven no matter the time of day or night, whether on or off-duty, the women and men of this department and its law enforcement partners are prepared to do whatever is necessary to get the job done…
“Their actions resulted in lives being saved and safer communities in Orange County…It is what we do, and we are proud to do it.”
The event was sponsored by the Orange County Sheriff’s Advisory Council.
“All blue lives matter,” OCSAC President Michael Sweig said.
At the end of the ceremony, a surprise “Sheriff’s Award” was presented to Terry Smith, 74, who in 1967 began working at Harbors, Beaches and Parks and still is with the OCSD, which in 1975 took over law enforcement of O.C.’s harbors.
Here are the OCSD’s Medal of Valor winners for work performed in 2016:
Deputy Timothy J. Ott, for saving a choking woman while off duty
Sheriff’s Special Officer Carlos Castro, Sheriff’s Special Officer Rafael Ojeda and Sheriff’s Special Officer Spencer Sheflin, for reviving an unresponsive man who suffered a heart attack at John Wayne Airport
Investigator Rachelle Shane Ellis and Deputy Lawrence Mitchell, for reviving a 20-month-old who fell in a pool. They performed CPR on the toddler for 10 minutes.
Investigator Victor Contreras and Deputy Marco Munguia, for saving the life of a 15-year-old who hung himself in his bedroom.
Deputy Paulino Chavez and Deputy Jason Doherty, for reviving a heart attack victim.
Deputy Daniel Packham and Deputy Craig Sanders, for performing CPR on a 54-year-old heart attack victim.
Deputy Jeremy Buraglia and Deputy Brandon Koenig, for rendering aid to a man who had collapsed in a hot tub. They performed CPR for more than 20 minutes.
Deputy Juan J. Lopez and Deputy Bryce Simpson, for saving the life of a 45-year-old woman who was found at home not breathing.
Investigator Adam Koliha, for saving a man suffering a possible heart attack and showing his son how and when to give rescue breaths.
Deputy Terra Carrillo, Deputy Amanda Ketring, Deputy Jonathan Nehrig and Deputy Ashley Reyes, for saving the life of a female inmate at the Intake/Release Center in Santa Ana who had hung herself.
Deputy Gregory Berry, who stopped a suicidal inmate at the Theo Lacy Facility from killing himself.
Sgt. Joseph Sandoval, who while off duty fishing on the Colorado River rendered life-saving aid to two people ejected from an ATV, and who assisted two others injured in the crash.
Deputy Erik Baum, Deputy Drew McMillan, Deputy Brian Stockbridge and Professional Service Responder Jim Slikker, for rendering aid to a female hiker who suffered a serious head injury after being struck by a mountain biker.
Deputy Chris Quenault, for firing a bean bag at a woman who put a gun to her head, preventing her from killing herself.
Chief Senior Chaplain Kathleen Kooiman, for forming new organizations and expanding existing roles across many aspects of the local law enforcement community and the community as a whole.
Professional Service Responder Michael De Laby, for spearheading the creation of the OCSD’s Air Rescue Medical Team.
Deputy David Wise, for his work on the North Investigations Detail in cracking a major fraud case involving thousands of victims and a criminal gang organization.
Deputy Calvin Silva, for restoring a vandalized pumpkin patch for special-needs kids at Rancho Santa Margarita Elementary School.
Deputy Gino Rodriguez, for his drug-trafficking interdiction skills.
MEDAL OF COURAGE AND MEDAL FOR LIFESAVING/MEDAL FOR LIFESAVING
Deputy Steve Hortz (Medal of Courage and Medal for Lifesaving) and Deputy Travis Krudwig (Medal for Lifesaving), for saving the life of a man who had crawled onto a ledge 80 feet high at a shopping center.
Sgt. Paul Rowe (Medal for Lifesaving, Medal of Courage) and Deputy Mark Dent and Deputy Apryl Soapes (Medal of Courage and Medal for Lifesaving), for using less-lethal means to take into custody a bloody, knife-wielding man who was threatening to kill himself inside a convenience store.
Deputy Randy Morphew, for getting a gun-toting man who attempted a carjacking to surrender with no shots having to be fired, and no one getting injured.
Deputy Keith Chacon, Deputy Anthony Franco and Deputy Juan D. Lopez, who were ambushed by a man who shot dozens of rounds at them from his garage. Also receiving the Medal of Merit for this incident were Dispatcher Jena Nally and Dispatcher Wendy Vanover.
Investigator Bill Beeman, for outstanding career achievement, notably his work involving jail gangs and organized criminal activity.