California Correctional Officers Honored for Saving Lives While Off-Duty

Three correctional officers from Avenal State Prison were recently honored by the State of California and awarded Medals of Honor in response to their heroic actions in two separate life-saving incidents.

Sgt. Stan Tuck was driving to the grocery store when he observed an unconscious woman lying on the sidewalk. He immediately checked her vital signs and began delivering CPR to the woman until she began to breathe on her own again. Tuck stayed with the woman until paramedics were able to make it to the scene and take over.

Tuck explained that though there were other people in the area, no one seemed to notice the woman and no one helped her. “Something just didn’t look right. I was glad I was there, but I hope I never have to do it again,” he said.

In a separate incident, lieutenants John Mendiboure and Mike Tuntakit encountered an individual flagging down help. Another car had gone down a 100-yard embankment and the driver was trapped in the overturned car. The two men broke the window of the car with a rock just as it began to smoke and pulled the unresponsive driver from the wreckage.

Tuntakit contributed their training on being able to rescue the driver. “And to be in the right place at the right time and put that training in use is a great feeling,” he said.

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The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) honored 125 individuals, which included the three heroes, during the 31st annual Medal of Valor ceremony in Sacramento, California. Governor Jerry Brown commended the employees for going above and beyond the call of duty and being an inspiration to others.

CDCR secretary Scott Kernan expressed his gratitude and pride in the correctional staff. Tuck received a Bronze Star for his actions and Mendiboure and Tuntakit received Silver Stars.