SACRAMENTO — Gov. George Deukmejian, commending the "clear moral vision" of six California Highway Patrol officers and eight other state workers, presented them with Medal of Valor awards for heroism.
The 14 men, including a CHP officer from Ventura, protected or saved the lives of accident victims, fellow employees and others under circumstances that jeopardized their own lives, according to statements made by their bosses during ceremonies in the governor's council room.
"Their behavior protects the virtue of courage. Overcoming fear to rescue another person is not an easy thing to do," Deukmejian said Tuesday at the ceremony's conclusion. Their actions, he said, "reaffirm the value our society places on human life."
He told the group: "It is my hope your clear moral vision will stir others to carry out similar acts."
The 14 were:
CHP Officer Jeffrey Ferber of Ventura, who rescued a man trapped in a car submerged under eight feet of muddy water in Lake Sherwood after repeated dives to locate him.
Mike Velasquez and Ken Eller of Fresno, state forestry captains who rescued a woman trapped in a burning car. Heavy smoke blocked their vision and they were not wearing protective gear.
Glen McGowen of Monterey, an employee of the state Department of Parks and Recreation who rescued a woman who had fallen through a narrow crevice into a grotto filled with raging seawater. He was treated for hypothermia and cuts.
CHP Officers Adam Christin and Guillermo Godinez of Torrance, who rescued a man trapped inside a pickup truck that had caught fire after crashing into a barrier on the San Diego Freeway. The truck exploded shortly after they dragged him from the cab.
CHP Officer James Ladd of Bridgeport, who crawled inside a smashed bus perched precariously in the Walker River to organize the rescue of those trapped inside.
CHP Officer Michael Morris of Santa Fe Springs, who hung almost upside down, his leg held by a volunteer, on a freeway over-crossing to grab and restrain a mentally unstable man about to jump.
CHP Officer David Trabucco of Santa Rosa, who after repeated attempts managed to rescue a paralyzed man from a burning house minutes before the house exploded.
Donald Kiser of Petaluma, a state Department of Transportation employee who rescued a couple and their 2-year-old from a car trapped in rapidly rising floodwaters in Sonoma County.
Gregory Gadsby of Foster City; Bennie Fisher of San Pablo; Charles Kilsby of San Francisco, and John Valinch of San Francisco, all employees of the Employment Development Department who disarmed a distraught man trying to shoot an employee of a state unemployment insurance office in San Francisco.