Press Release

Press Release  26th Massachusetts Correctional Employee of the Year Ceremony Honors State and County Officials

For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
  • Massachusetts Department of Correction
  • Massachusetts Sheriffs' Association

Media Contact   for 26th Massachusetts Correctional Employee of the Year Ceremony Honors State and County Officials

Elaine Driscoll


WorcesterYesterday, in a ceremony at Mechanics Hall, the Executive Office of Public Safety (EOPSS) and Security, the Massachusetts Department of Correction (DOC), and Massachusetts Sherriff’s Association convened the Commonwealth’s state and county correctional community to confer the Correctional Employee of the Year Awards. The ceremony honored 26 correctional professionals for exceptional performance and public service.

“Our Administration appreciates the vital experience, dedication and tenacity that county and state correctional teams bring to every shift. I wish to congratulate this year’s honorees for their exemplary service.” Governor Maura Healey said. “Whether it’s their first day on the job or decades into their public service, we thank the dedicated professionals in the field of corrections for all that they do.”

“We are grateful to correctional professionals across Massachusetts for their integral role in promoting public safety and providing safe and secure environments to facilitate rehabilitative services for those entrusted to their care,” Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll said. “I want to commend this year’s award recipients and thank the Sheriff’s Association, the Department of Correction, and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security for convening this annual ceremony to honor an essential public service.”  

“The Commonwealth relies on the expertise and compassion of corrections professionals for their significant contribution to public safety and delivery of essential services.  Yesterday’s award recipients exemplify the bravery and benevolence routinely demonstrated by correctional officers and staff, most often out of public view,” Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy said. “This ceremony provides an important opportunity to meaningfully recognize their outstanding contributions and highlight Corrections vital impact on public safety, criminal justice and the rehabilitation of those entrusted to their care.”

Yesterday’s ceremony conferred three distinct awards: Meritorious Recognition, Medal of Valor, and Medal of Honor. Meritorious Recognition recognizes an employee who acted beyond the requirements of their position. The second highest honor, Medal of Valor, honors an employee who put themselves at risk of retaining injury to protect others. Last, individuals receiving the Medal of Honor, the highest award, knowingly risked their lives to save another.

Additionally, the Selection Committee conferred special recognition on an 11-year DOC veteran, Officer Matthew Tidman who was brutally attacked on an otherwise ordinary August day at MCI-Shirley. Tidman survived his nearly fatal injuries because of his extraordinary will to live, the immediate response of his colleagues, lifesaving medical support, and ongoing medical care. He has become a source of tremendous inspiration for his correctional peers and the Selection Committee hopes that his story of resilience will inspire others.

“Correctional professionals use their training and expertise every day to address complex challenges and fulfill our rehabilitative mission,” said Commissioner Carol Mici. “We commend yesterday’s recipients who are being honored for their extraordinary actions, and we celebrate the quality of care, custody and programming provided by our team. Their professionalism and commitment to excellence ensure the continued safety of Massachusetts.”

“The best work done by correctional professionals, whether behind the walls, or in the community, can often go overlooked. But it is the empathy, professionalism, and desire to make a difference in someone else’s life that helps elevate not only the community but also the profession,” Hampden County Sheriff and President of the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association Nicholas Cocchi said. “When a moment is taken to show appreciation for those efforts, it helps fuel the next day’s important work. So we are thankful to gather to say ‘thank you’ for going above and beyond, and being an example of what is right in the field of corrections and law enforcement.”

The awards are as follows:

Meritorious Recognition   

Essex County Sheriff’s Office
Assistant Director of Security Jonathan Campbell
Sergeants Brett Feldman and Christopher Walsh
Deputy Sheriff David D’Amico
Registered Nurse Jonathan Wilson
Licensed Professional Nurse Tatiana Bruno

In June 2022, during a security round on his assigned unit, Deputy Sheriff David D’Amico heard an inmate banging on his cell door because of a medical emergency. D’Amico and Sergeant Brett Feldman entered the cell to find a man non-responsive and struggling to breath. Feldman relayed information over the radio and received assistance from Assistant Director of Security Jon Campbell, Sergeant Christopher Walsh, Officer Dennis Castro, and Nurses Jonathan Wilson and Tatiana Bruno.

Observing a patient with shallow breathing, a faint pulse, and a blueish discoloration of the skin, Campbell and Feldman initiated CPR while nurses Wilson and Bruno began to apply an AED machine and oxygen tank. The team provided care until EMS arrived at which time the man began to breath on his own and his skin color began to normalize.

The Selection Committee recognizes Assistant Director of Security Campbell, Sergeant Feldman, Sergeant Walsh, Deputy Sheriff D’Amico, Nurse Wilson, and Nurse Bruno for their swift response to deliver life-saving medical aide with a Meritorious Recognition.

Essex County Sheriff’s Office
Officer Jose Arroyo

On a January morning last year, Officer Jose Arroyo arrived home after working the third shift when his next-door neighbor screamed for help. She ran towards Arroyo appearing severely battered and said that her boyfriend assaulted and threatened to kill her. Arroyo saw a man approaching from behind the woman and quickly led her into his house to prevent further violence. Responding police arrested the male suspect who was later charged with two counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, kidnapping, armed assault in a dwelling, and intimidation of a witness.

The Selection Committee recognizes Officer Arroyo for his care and protective action that prevented further harm with a Meritorious Recognition.

Hampden County Sheriff’s Office
Officers Nicolas Husovsky and Ryan Kennedy (posthumously)

In April 2022, Officers Ryan Kennedy and Nicholas Husovsky were driving on Route 9 in Williamsburg as part of a transportation mission from their county’s Ludlow facility to the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office. While in transit, the pair observed a car off the road and crashed into a tree. Pulling over to assist, they found an unresponsive woman slouched over the center console with a purple hue to her skin.

The officers broke a window to gain access and pull the woman from the car. Unable to measure a pulse, Husovsky and Kennedy initiated CPR and sustained the woman for five minutes until fire officials deployed an AED. Together, these efforts restored the woman’s pulse.

The Selection Committee recognizes Officer Husovsky and Officer Kennedy posthumously for their immediate action and life-saving measures in the service of a civilian. We thank Ryan’s parents for accepting the award on behalf of their family, and we extend our condolences to you both for your loss. 

Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office
Officer James Reinhart

Continue reading as recipient takes his place at the center of the stage.

In October 2022, while returning to the facility from a detail in Norwood, Officer James Reinhardt came upon a single-car accident. Officer Reinhardt immediately activated EMS and went to the vehicle to check on the victim. Recognizing the victim was in distress, Officer Reinhardt attempted to break a window, forced a door open to gain access to the vehicle, extricated the victim, and began administering aid while awaiting EMS. As a result of Officer Reinhardt’s quick action, the victim received lifesaving first aid and was successfully taken to the hospital.

The Selection Committee recognizes Officer Reinhart for his quick action with a Meritorious Recognition.

Department of Correction
Correction Officer Paul Starvaski

In October 2022, a woman receiving medication at the medication line put her hands to her throat indicating the universal sign for choking. Officer Paul Starvaski approached the woman and performed the Heimlich maneuver twice. His swift action successfully dislodged the pills from her airway.

The Selection Committee recognizes Officer Starvaski for his immediate response with a Meritorious Recognition.

Department of Correction
Correction Officer Telmo Teixeira

In August 2022, Officer Telmo Teixeira responded to an individual who climbed over a railing inside the Old Colony Correctional Center and threatened to throw himself 20 feet down to the ground. As his colleagues worked to deescalate the situation, Officer Teixeira retrieved a mattress and began approaching the area from below. When the individual jumped from the railing, Officer Teixeira swiftly threw the mattress below him preventing his upper body, head, and neck from striking the concrete floor. 

The Selection Committee recognizes Officer Teixeira for his quick action to prevent potentially life-threatening injuries with a Meritorious Recognition.

Essex County Sheriff’s Office
Sergeants Peter Waldman and Louis Potvin
Officers Ethan Champeau, Max Munyanya, George Dekeon, and William Panzini

In October 2022, a large fight with multiple inmates broke out on the top tier of a housing unit. As the first to observe the disorder, Officer George Dekeon immediately relayed information over the radio and ordered all combatants to stop fighting, which they ignored. Responding officers soon realized that several combatants were armed with home-made weapons called, “shanks.”

As their orders continued to be ignored, the large-scale disturbance became of very concerning. Officers were outnumbered facing several combatants who were armed with weapons. Sergeants Peter Waldman and Louis Potvin, together with Officers Dekeon, Ethan Champeau, Max Munyanya, and William Panzini, used their training to protect the lives of those living and working within the unit, secure the dangerous weapons, and regain control of the scene.  

The Selection Committee recognizes Sergeant Waldman, Sergeant Potvin, Officer Champeau, Officer Munyanya, Officer Dekeon, and Officer Panzini for their courage and commitment to the safety and well-being of others aside from placing their own safety at risk. They restrained the armed individuals during a chaotic scene, working together using their critical training and experience to gain control of a hostile environment. For their actions, the Committee confers a Meritorious Recognition. 

Medal of Valor

Essex County Sheriff’s Office
K-9 Deputy Sheriff Kyle D. Kidger and his partner, K-9 Django (posthumously)

As part of the same incident immediately above, the Selection Committee would like to confer the Medal of Valor on K-9 Deputy Sheriff Kyle Kidger and posthumously to his K-9 partner, Django. Kidger and K-9 Django responded to a radio call about the fight and assumed position outside the housing unit. Aware of reports of multiple armed inmates with shanks, the pair entered the unit.

Once inside, Deputy Sheriff Kidger ordered the inmates several times to stop fighting, which was ignored. Well outnumbered, Kidger and K-9 Django became the target of an aggressive inmate who squared up in a fighting stance with a homemade weapon in his hand. Kidger again delivered clear orders to drop the weapon and get on the ground, which the inmate refused to comply with. Ultimately, K-9 Django contained the inmate while Kidger pinned him down and was able to get the weapon.

For their heroic actions to end the disturbance and restore order to the unit, the Selection Committee confers the Medal of Valor to K-9 Deputy Sheriff Kidger and posthumously to K-9 Django who passed away unexpectedly due to a repository infection shortly thereafter.

Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office
Lieutenants Louis Langton and Kevin Fernandes

In May 2022, Falmouth Police and the Cape Cod Regional Law Enforcement Council SWAT team responded to a gunshot injury and subsequent standoff with the shooter at a home near North Falmouth Elementary School. Lieutenant Kevin Fernandes lead the SWAT team during the 3-hour event and Lieutenant Louis Langton negotiated the gunman’s eventual surrender.

Although the initial victim succumbed to their injuries, Fernandes and Langtons’ actions as part of the SWAT Team ensured the continued safety of first responders, by-standers in a heavily residential neighborhood, students at the nearby evacuated school, and the gunman.

The Selection Committee recognizes Lieutenant Fernandes and Lieutenant Langton for their actions with the Medal of Valor.

Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office
Officer Sean Mullin

On Christmas Eve 2022, Officer Sean Mullin smelled burning plastic as he loaded his children into a family vehicle outside their home. After handing his children off to the care of his wife, Mullin went in search of the source. He canvassed the neighborhood and found a mobile home fully engulfed in flames with several propane tanks leaning up against the side. Mullin charged a neighbor to call 911 while he determined if the home was occupied.

As Mullin approached the blaze wearing just a short-sleeve shirt, the propane tanks began to explode from the heat and the roof blew off in flames. Mullin searched the trailer looking for a means of entry and he discovered the owner standing in the frame of a side door. The elderly man’s winter coat was melting from the flames and he suffered burns on his beard, face, and body while trying to retrieve his belongings from the blaze.

Balancing the urgent need to escape with the man’s obvious physical limitations, Mullin led his neighbor a short distance away from the home where he and another neighbor convinced the homeowner to leave everything behind for his safety. In this stressful and personally traumatic moment, Mullin guided the man to safety.

The Selection Committee recognizes Officer Mullin for his bravery and quick thinking in this dangerous blaze with the Medal of Valor.

Medal of Honor

Department of Correction
Recreation Officers Christopher Lounsbury and Michael Fazio
Wellpath Director of Nursing Kelly McKenna

In August 2022, during the course of an otherwise normal day at MCI-Shirley, an inmate brutally attacked an officer in his assigned gymnasium post – striking him several times in the head with a metal bar. Without hesitation or regard for their own safety, Recreation Officers Christopher Lounsbury and Michael Fazio responded by stopping the attack and subduing the attacker. With the threat mitigated and the scene secured by responding security staff, the two recreation officers immediately began to render lifesaving first aid to Tidman.

During her normal duties, Director of Nursing Kelly McKenna heard the call for emergency assistance. Equipped with a weighted emergency response bag, she left the Health Services Unit and sprinted the length of a football field to render aid to Tidman. Once on-scene, McKenna administered lifesaving assistance and continued to accompany him in the ambulance to the hospital where Tidman was then air lifted to a trauma center.

The Selection Committee recognizes Recreation Officer Lounsbury, Recreation Officer Fazio, and Wellpath Director of Nursing McKenna for their courageous, extraordinary, lifesaving response that day with the Medal of Honor.


Media Contact   for 26th Massachusetts Correctional Employee of the Year Ceremony Honors State and County Officials

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