Trio of California Prison Employees Honored for Heroism

By CN Staff

SACRAMENTO—Three Ironwood State Prison (ISP) employees were awarded the Silver Medal in a November 15 Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor virtual ceremony for their heroic rescue last year of two adults and two children involved in a rollover vehicle accident. Mayra Mora, a registered nurse (RN), Heriberto Mora, a correctional lieutenant, and John Bradley, a correctional sergeant, are among 33 state employees honored by the state on behalf of Governor Gavin Newsom.

On the morning of Feb. 4, 2021, Lt. Mora and his wife, RN Mora, encountered a car crash on their way to work. Trained emergency first responders, the Moras pulled their vehicle over to the shoulder and ran across the freeway to the mangled truck that had rolled over into a ditch.

The driver was bleeding profusely from the head and RN Mora treated the wound using her husband’s sweater. She then assisted a woman who had been ejected from the vehicle, keeping her stationary to avoid aggravating internal or neck injuries. A young girl was outside the truck. Not knowing if she had been ejected or taken out, Lt. Mora attended her and calmed her.

Sgt. Bradley, also on his way to work, stopped to lend aid to the crash victims. Lt. Mora searched the vehicle and saw an infant still in a car seat. With Sgt. Bradley’s assistance, the two broke open the rear passenger window, undid the car seat’s harness, and got the baby out safely. They stayed with the victims until firefighters and paramedics arrived. The two children were airlifted to a nearby hospital with moderate injuries. All survived because of the quick action taken. Several other prison employees also stopped to help with bottles of water and blankets for the victims.

“On behalf of our department, we thank Governor Newsom and our colleagues at the California Department of Human Resources for honoring our staff,” said Kathleen Allison, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). “The actions and bravery of Lt. Mora, RN Mora and Sgt. Bradley helped save the lives of an entire family. The fact that they were able to react as quickly as they did, and work as a team to assess the situation, truly shows their resolve and selflessness. We are so very proud of them.”

The Silver Medal is awarded for an act of heroism by a state employee extending above and beyond the normal call of duty or service performed at personal risk to his or her safety to save human life or state property.

Earlier this year, RN Mora, Lt. Mora and Sgt. Bradley were also honored at CDCR’s 37th Medal of Valor ceremony.

The Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor Award is sponsored by the California Department of Human Resources. Award nominations are made by the employee’s department, reviewed by the statewide Merit Award Board, and selected by the Director of CalHR. Since the program began in 1959, over 700 state employees have received Medals of Valor.