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," said Secretary Mary Elizabeth Heffernan. "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."
During today's ceremony, Undersecretary Sandra M. McCroom said, "We appreciate the care and concern shown by correctional staff as they model the way for offenders, setting a path for a better life."
"Public safety is the primary function of the Department of Correction," said Acting Commissioner Luis S. Spencer. "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 Officers Mark Gregoire, Paul Gordon and Sgt. Antonio Servello received the Medal of Honor. MCI Norfolk CO Gregoire prevented an inmate from assaulting a staff person, while MCI Cedar Junction Sgt. Servello subdued several inmates from assaulting another inmate. Massachusetts Treatment Center CO Paul Gordon, while on his way home observed a man assaulting two women. He tried to stop the assault and in turn was attacked. He was able to subdue the man and assist in his arrest when the police arrived. They are to be commended for putting themselves at risk in order to save the lives of others.
Meritorious Recognition was given to MCI Cedar Junction Sgt. Jason Cummings who, while off duty, alerted residents of a fire on two separate occasions, entering the burning buildings to save their lives. Old Colony Correctional Center staff received Meritorious Recognition for their emergency response to an inmate who was semi-conscious due to self inflicted wounds. The inmate's life was saved due to the dedication and professionalism of Lt. Stephen Kennedy, Lt. Corey Cotta, Correction Officers John Rodrigues, Gerald Andrews, Michael McGinn, Michael Lewis, Robert Herrick, Matthew Lee, James Barrett, and Elizabeth Stephanian RN, Marion Yuille LPN, and Phyllis Santaskas LPN .
Community Service Awards were given to Brenda Melanson, Administrative Assistant at North Central Correctional Institution (NCCI) in Gardner, and Dr. Patricia Ruze, Sarah Maria RN and Nancy Todd RN at MCI Concord. A longtime employee of NCCI, Brenda Melanson continuously dedicates her own time to the betterment of the DOC and the community, spearheading blood, food and clothing drives. She is an active volunteer with the Gardner Community Action Center. Dr. Patricia Ruze, Sarah Maria RN and Nancy Todd RN volunteered their skills to provide medical aid to the Haitian earthquake victims in the Dominican Republic in January and February 2010. In addition to obtaining donations, medical supplies and clothing from their colleagues at MCI Concord and employer UMASS Medical, a DOC contractor, the three provided medical care on site.
The Massachusetts Department of Correction employs approximately 5,000 staff and houses over 11,400 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.