Mass. Department of Correction honors Correction Professionals at Awards Ceremony
"Every day, these men and women put themselves in harm's way to ensure our safety - that alone deserves our highest appreciation and honor," said Governor Deval L. Patrick.
"Today's ceremony is an opportunity to highlight the leadership of many brave men and women, whose extraordinary work and efforts have protected the safety of residents across the Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray.
Secretary Heffernan described those recognized today as "principled, skilled professionals." She said, "The officers and staff we honor today are role models for the entire corrections community and all law enforcement agencies."
"Public safety is the primary function of the Department of Correction," said Commissioner Harold W. Clarke. "DOC employees make this happen by working collaboratively with stakeholders to ensure that offenders leave our custody better prepared to reenter their communities and lead productive lives."
DOC Correction Officer Zachary Gustafson, MCI Cedar Junction, received the Medal of Valor for his response to an assault by two inmates on a fellow Correction Officer. He put himself at great risk without regard to his personal safety in order to prevent further injury to a colleague.
DOC Correction Officer (CO) Mario Marroquin, MCI Cedar Junction, and Sergeant Tomas Martinez, Office of Investigative Services, received Meritorious Recognition. CO Marroquin was traveling in Norton, MA on February 21, 2009 when he observed a house fire. He was able to rescue an older female and a dog, but was unable to enter the house when the women told him her son was still inside. CO Marroquin put himself at great risk without regard for his personal safety in order to save the life of a member of the Norton community.
Sergeant Tomas Martinez has worked on many cases with state and local law enforcement agencies. He had been contacted by the Mass. State Police Narcotics Unit regarding an investigation of crack cocaine distribution in Fitchburg by known gang members. Sergeant Martinez was instrumental in an arrest and during the arrest, a firearm was recovered which is believed to be linked to an ongoing murder investigation. Sergeant Martinez is an asset to the DOC Office of Investigative Services as he assists outside law enforcement agencies to arrest drug dealers and get them off the street.
DOC Correction Officer Jonathan Route, MCI Concord, received the Community Service Award. Since 2006, CO Route has been a volunteer in Leominster with the Leominster Youth Robotics. CO Route has invested hundreds of hours in the program and children of Leominster, with an average enrollment of 275 children in kindergarten through eighth grade. Recently Leominster Youth Robotics placed first in the Boston Regional Robotics competition and CO Route took a team to the High School World Championship. His contributions to youth are worthy of recognition.
The Massachusetts Department of Correction employs approximately 5,000 staff and houses over 11,200 inmates in 18 facilities, ranging from pre-release to maximum security. More information about the DOC is available on the DOC website at www.mass.gov/doc.