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2020 DOC Employee Awards

On Dec. 23, 2020, the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and Pennsylvania Parole Board held the 2020 Outstanding Performance Awards: DOC and Parole and Probation. While the awards are normally presented at a ceremony each June, this year's event was postponed due to COVID-19. To continue pandemic mitigation efforts, the 2020 event was held virtually on Dec. 23. The following are the award recipients and brief summaries of why they were selected. Congratulations to all honorees!

CENTRAL REGION, SCI BENNER TOWNSHIP, NORTH WEST, NORTH EAST

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE AWARDS

Melladee Waxmunsky, Cosmetology Instructor, SCI Muncy

"Is as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside." "Embodies qualities of an excellent cosmetology instructor." "Treats everyone fairly and has the qualities of being sensitive and empathetic." "She visibly addresses inmates' insecurities." "She is an excellent listener." "She has a positive attitude and good listening skills." These are what coworkers had to say about Melladee. At recent Correction Education Association conference, one of her past students was honored and spoke about her life-altering experience as cosmetology student at prison – noting she is employed full time and that it would not have been possible without Melladee's guidance and encouragement. As a cosmetology instructor, she balances eight students and 1,400 inmate clients. She is creative and holds contests to allow students to highlight talents. Her program rivals any beauty school outside of SCI Muncy, and she has a 100 percent passing rate. Melladee is described as having stamina and excellent organizational skills; as someone who models time management skills and the importance of always being well groomed and presentable. She also is adaptable, accepts change and uses new knowledge to improve student and staff outcomes. Community volunteer work involves supporting her children's sporting efforts, and she is a volunteer for CPL.

Daniel Frank, Lieutenant, SCI Rockview

Lt. Frank's dedication to his current position as a shift lieutenant and the previous positions as training sergeant and DTU corrections officer, has had a significant impact upon SCI Rockview in general. Lt. Frank has a very effective leadership style that is not only exceptional but that has had a direct impact on the overall operation and the future of SCI Rockview. One of first officers assigned to DTU, he established the routine and standard of how the unit would operate as it related to officers on that unit. Lt. Frank took ownership of program, established extremely effective communications process within the unit and helped in decision making for PRC actions as well as saw that the mental health needs of inmates are rapidly met. His leadership helped other officers to develop the same traits. The foundation he established on that unit remains today, making the DTU an effective program with staff buy-in. As training sergeant, he trained hundreds of COTs with straight-forward approach and leadership. He took time to teach little things, used a common sense approach and real-life scenarios in his teachings, and was always available to help COTs achieve best results. As lieutenant he made an immediate impact in the facility, and his reputation through his commitment to past assignments gave him an edge that has had significant impacts on the entire facility. Lt. Frank treats everyone with respect and, as a result, he is one of the most respected employees at SCI Rockview. He is an exceptional leader and is the employee you want on your team and the leader you want to follow. Lt. Frank filled in as an acting captain for nearly 6 months on the 0600-1400 shift, his ability and leadership was the primary reason the superintendent approved this acting position. He was effective in that capacity and made an immediate impact on the shift. He is an exceptional leader with commitment to excellence. Currently he is the L-5 lieutenant and is establishing procedures for the BMU which was moved to SCI Rockview earlier this year. Prison leadership is are confident, thanks to his leadership, that this will be the most effective BMU in the state. Community volunteer work includes being a member of local Elks and being a guest speaker at St. Josephs Drug Rehab. Previously he was an assistant softball coach and volunteer with a local girls' softball league. 

Priscella Karns, Administration Officer 3, Correctional Industries

Priscella Karns for the Outstanding Performance Award for 2020 within the DOC.  Priscella began her career with the Department as a Clerk Typist II at SCI Cambridge Springs from 2004-2005, and transferred to SCI Forest in the same capacity from 2005-2015. 

She joined PCI in 2015 as an Administrative Officer 1, where she served as the subject matter expert for all aspects of SAP for license plates in our manufacturing division among other duties with out largest Customer PennDOT.

Priscella is also our Human Resource Coordinator/Liaison that oversees all HR functions within CI Central Office and the SCI's that have industries.  She is also our Training Coordinator, including our policy and procedure functions, and engaged in our strategic plans, and conducts orientation for new DOC employees within CI.  She was the lead Coordinator for the National Corrections Industries Association Conference held in Pennsylvania in 2016.

Priscella's outstanding performance was more evident when CI became a candidate for ACA accreditation in February 2020, and again she was our coordinator. She single handedly took the process from scratch because the last time CI was accredited was in 2009 and all the files were obsolete.

Her ability to tackle that task alone spoke volumes about how dedicated she is as a DOC and CI employee. She is punctual, pleasantly the task master for our own good, and the ability to work with others to achieve positive results.

As a result of her work in the accreditation process, PCI was able to achieve one hundred percent on both the mandatory and non-mandatory standards, a feat that is unrivaled by any other Correctional Industries across the Country, as indicated by the auditors.  She was the catalyst that made it happen with the help of the team that she put together.

Priscella also assists in training at other institutions outside CI in areas of professional boundaries, and training for staff trainers.

EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR - PROFESSIONAL

Michael Barvitskie, Parole Supervisor, Williamsport District Office

Michael Barvitskie has been the acting district director of the Williamsport District since April 2019.  He has taken the opportunity to bring the Williamsport District into the mobile office model of operations by instituting new processes and work flows. Michael has sat on various committees working to update policy, procedure and processes throughout 2019, including the domestic violence protocol.  His commitment to improving the agency and then the Williamsport District is evidenced in his actions and work ethic.

CENTRAL REGION SOUTH, SOUTH EAST,
SCI FRACKVILLE

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE AWARD

Jeremy Voeckler, Food Service Instructor, SCI Camp Hill

Jeremy is meticulous when performing his duties, is dedicated to duties, and his indomitable spirit is unfailing. He has great organizational skills, lifts up coworkers around him and continually reviews ARAMARK requirements to reduce costs and produce high-level results. His coworkers describe him as an example for others. He has voluntarily stepped into supervisory positions when needed during critical operational periods. He also takes initiative and is instrumental in teaching new employees. Jeremy also is described as a pillar of support and as someone who assists with religious feasts, holiday celebrations employee events, volunteer banquets, symposiums, etc. He is ideal for this award because of his enthusiastic spirit, dependability, honesty, trustworthiness and how he promotes relationships. He believes in team work and for that he is respected. He will not waiver in his responsibilities or his support of his facility and the DOC. Outside of work, Jeremy coaches two community sports teams, including Red Land youth baseball, and he also coaches youth hockey.

Faith Walter, Mailroom Supervisor, SCI Mahanoy

Voluntarily stepped up to work in mailroom facing staff shortage due to retirements and hiring freeze, Faith is described as being organized, knowledgeable, professional and a multi-tasker. She is loyal and dedicated to the success of the prison. She supervises MAH/FRA consolidated mailrooms and has filled in as the superintendent assistant/public information officer and administrative officer in the superintendent's office. At this same time, the prison was prepping for its ACA audit. As leaders tried to identify someone to help out, they noticed most areas were experiencing staffing issues, yet Faith stepped up and volunteered. She did so while keeping the mailroom running. Next, she helped out as the superintendent's secretary and handled an endless stream of phone calls, inquiries, legal teams, etc., including being the facility rep for the ACA audit and learned the new computer system. She worked hard. She works amicably with all institutional staff, Central Office staff, officials from government and media representatives.  Faith "self-taught" herself many of the functions required to perform these new tasks and is innovative in finding the answers she needs to keep moving forward.  For no other reasons than "to learn new things" (her own words) and to fill a critical void, Faith reports to work each day and, in essence, does two jobs.  She does not expect any additional compensation and is just happy to help and be significant. In addition to her numerous duties, Faith is active with SCI Mahanoy's Employee Recreation Association and has served in various leadership positions within the organization.  The one extra duty that she has assumed is her work as the editor for the facility's employee newsletter, "Mahanoyse" – a quarterly publication consisting solely of employee contributions.  Faith admits it is a significant amount of additional work but believes it is worth the time because Mahanoyse is enjoyed by so many.

MEDAL OF VALOR

Levi Blough, Corrections Vocational Employment Coordinator, SCI Camp Hill

On June 8, 2019, at around 7:30 p.m., Levi and his wife were at home with their children when the next-door neighbor knocked on their door and asked if they had seen a seven-year-old boy. Levi and his wife had not, but they began to assist in the search. Mrs. Blough, a previously trained lifeguard, immediately thought of the neighbor's in-ground pool, while Levi searched his property.  Although the pool was previously searched, Mrs. Blough spotted the boy in the murky deep end of the pool and pulled him out. Levi responded to his wife's cry for help and quickly rushed to her aid. Both of them began life-saving attempts of chest compressions and rescue breaths. Levi said that the police who responded to the scene first allowed them to continue rescue efforts, as the pair were working seamlessly on the child. The child was rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately, the child died at the hospital. Upon returning to work, Levi sought out the CPR instructors and thanked them for the training they provided him. He stated that he did not think about what he was doing and that the skills just kicked in. He describes the incident as a tragic accident and that he and his wife are still working through the experience. 

MICHAEL M. HADUCK AWARD

Charles Ackerman, Parole Agent II, Pittsburgh Office

This is in recognition of Agent Ackerman's successful implementation of the Court Liaison position.  With Agent Ackerman's vast professional knowledge of the court systems he was able to streamline the hearing processes for all state supervised Allegheny County probation cases.  Agent Ackerman implemented a system with each individual judge to ensure detainers are applied, if necessary, for DCP cases.  He has taken the initiate to develop a training program for Gagnon Hearings, as well as assisted in developing and implementing a district hearing report training.  Agent Ackerman's exceptional professionalism and selfless devotion to duty reflects great credit upon himself and upholds the highest standards as well as brings great credit to this agency.

GROUP ACHIEVEMENT - PUBLIC/EMPLOYEE SAFETY

Mark Cox, John Godfrey, Dennis Hartlove, Jose Kuilan, Justin Parson, Ryan Patterson, Chris Ross, Michael Stella, Mark Zychal.

During a planned search on the evening of December 11, 2019, Agents Parks, Patterson, Kuilan, Hartlove, Cox, Stella, Zychal, Ross and Godfrey demonstrated excellence in their abilities to observe, react and adapt to dynamic and dangerous situations.  The search utilized K9, FAST and technology resources.  The search began with the stop of one offender, but then evolved to include an additional offender at that scene, and then another at a residence where a surveillance team was located.  Agents maintained clear and effective communication over a group call, which ensured that all live information was shared and understood as the situation changed.  Agents secured four locations during the search and effectively disarmed a threat to staff and the community. All staff brought a unique skill set that was critical to the success and safety of the team.

GROUP ACHIEVEMENT - SPECIAL PROJECT

Marcia Barnhart, Mark Frank, Suzann Hobart, Cheryl Horner, Sandy Martin, Nicole Morton, Jackie Rupert, Tracy Smith and De'Andra Walker.

Zoom visits have been a "game changer" for the inmates. One testimonial was from an inmate who hadn't seen the inside of his parents' house in many years, and so many other testimonials from inmates who haven't seen some family members or have had visits for decades. This initiative seems to be "here to stay." There have been more than 82,100 zoom visits (as of July 9, 2020) since being implemented in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Zoom visits average between 800-900 every day between all of the SCI's. These employees got this program up-and-running in record time, literally within 10 days of being advised to implement, working with Zoom contacts, conducting mass staff training on scheduling, creating necessary accounts to work from, etc. Staff continues to provide support to the institutions and ongoing trouble shooting, as needed.

JOHN D. PERKIS AWARD

Robert Gerrity, Brian Goode

On July 30, 2019, Agents Goode, Gerrity and Walsh were outside of the Harrisburg District Office when they observed a male on top of a female with his hands around her neck.  The agents ran to the aid of the victim and broke up the altercation by separating her from the perpetrator.  The agents ensured the victim was safe until the arrival of the police.  Agents Goode, Gerrity and Walsh's swift action prevented the victim from serious injury and/or death. 

EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR - OFFICIALS AND ADMINISTRATION

Laura Hoffman-Reed, Major, Bureau of Community Corrections

This past year Laura has worked diligently to address security concerns and issues within facilities, worked as part of a committee to restructure the BCC, worked to organize and facilitate statewide trainings, and worked to merge the MOC and OMC into one operation center.  Laura is always at the ready to step up to any challenge.  Her professionalism, positivity and work ethic has helped to drive BCC staff forward throughout many changes and challenges this past year.  Laura is described as an awesome individual who provides amazing support and guidance for BCC.  She always goes above and beyond to improve her areas and has had an amazing impact on BCC.

EXCELLENCE IN LEADERSHIP

Kelly Evans, Deputy Secretary of Reentry

Kelly was promoted to deputy secretary of reentry in 2018.  Since her promotion she has worked diligently to improve reentry throughout the state system.  In 2019, Kelly introduced the department to the reentry simulation concept, educating everyone about the struggles reentrants face when returning to the community. She led the initiative to create and implement a Reentry Service Office in the SCIs that helps individuals approaching release from prison. She restructured the Reentry Bureau to make it more efficient at providing seamless reentry support from within the institutions to within the communities, and she merged Treatment Services and Education Bureaus under one new Reentry Bureau.  Kelly's leadership abilities are evidenced by the positive changes which have been made in the DOC's reentry initiatives since she took her position in 2018. 

EASTERN REGION, NORTH, SCI PHOENIX

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE AWARD

Scott Mihelcic, Corrections Officer 2, SCI Phoenix

Scott is the prison's intake sergeant, who innovatively streamlined the process of accepting inmates and property to minimize contraband introduction. Has led the FERT team and took on role of acting fire/safety manager during that person's absence. Scott assists with ACA audit prep and teaches several courses at the facility – FERT, incident command, suicide prevention and handgun/shotgun. His insights and leadership are invaluable. His community volunteer work includes being volunteer firefighter (holding many ranks) for more than 28 years in Somerset and Montgomery counties.

EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR – BUREAU OF COMMUNITY CORRECTIONS

Jackie Rupert, Center Director, Phila. CCC #2

Jackie is the primary lead for the BCC efforts related to juvenile lifers (JLs). One of her most significant contributions has been the implementation of monthly JL meetings at the CCC, where she brings together parole, BCC and community service providers, for support and guidance of any JL living at the center or in the community. Jackie also coordinates annual cookouts to celebrate reentrant successes and this past year, expanded it to a local park, where reentrants' family members were welcomed. Jackie and her team are implementing a separate commuted lifer support group as well. Many people talk servant leadership but Jackie demonstrates it daily by helping anyone, anywhere, at any time. She works on the notion that together everyone succeeds, so much so that she had the word "SUCCEED" tiled into the main hallway of her center. She devotes a lot of time and energy supporting CCCs across the state with ACA accreditation and PREA compliance. Jackie's "we are in this together" approach empowers others to increase their abilities and comfort levels about the processes. This past summer Jackie represented the department at the ACA summer conference in Boston, where she co-presented a workshop titled "Resentencing Juvenile Lifers and Preparation for Reentry," receiving much praise from the attendees. She was also heavily involved with the educational video about how JLs are prepared for release and reentry, which was shared at the conference. The system recently had a catastrophic maintenance issue at the other Philly CCC and had to evacuate 40 reentrants after-hours. Jackie was the first person called, and her only response was "whatever you need." Many employees stepped up that week, but Jackie did it while in the middle of preparing for her ACA accreditation audit the next month. Her center adjusted to the influx of displaced staff and reentrants because CCC #2's team is truly a team. Security, clerical, counseling and parole staff operate together like a well-oiled machine. Their respect and confidence in Jackie are a reflection of her respect and confidence in them. She gives everyone an equal voice. No matter what issues arose in that 30 days between the CCC evacuation and ACA, Jackie remained consistent, focused and composed. It wasn't perfect, but her team's adaptability kept a bad situation from becoming the news, and they were also successfully reaccredited. Jackie's real asset is the little things she does every day that no one sees, but keeps her team, the reentrants, the region and BCC moving in a positive direction. Jackie is humble, hard-working and committed to the success of all.

LLOYD A. WHITE EXCELLENCE IN REENTRY AWARD

Adrienne Jones, Community Reentry Parole Agent, Philadelphia D.O. Resource Parole Agent, Philadelphia D.O.

Agent Jones immediately assisted a juvenile lifer that was in crisis when called to provide support.  Agent Jones took the time to assess the situation, inform all parties involved and follow through with getting the individual's medications delivered to her and provided support throughout this crucial time of crisis.  Agent Jones has been a true asset to every juvenile lifer released to the Philadelphia area.  She was involved with organizing a monthly juvenile lifer support group which has shown to be a huge success in the Philadelphia area.  Agent Jones is always available to provide one-on-one support to any parolee.  She truly demonstrates the mission of the agency by providing services -- based on evidence-based practices -- to assist in the rehabilitation and positive change and prevention of future crimes. 

WESTERN REGION, NORTH/MIDDLE,
SCI CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE AWARD

Marcus Jones, Corrections Maintenance Foreman, SCI Mercer

Marcus has proven himself as an asset to the DOC. His infectious, positive attitude makes him a pleasure to interact with. He makes the day easier for everyone around him and has been a welcome addition to morale committee and employee association. Marcus is flexible and capable, willing to take on new responsibilities whenever needed. His can-do attitude has directly helped the prison overcome challenges imposed by unfortunate events with his coworkers. He took on the challenge of running the commissary – successfully managing operations for months with no prior experience. After the loss of the prison's barber, he stepped up to fill in and prevented loss of services to the inmates. Each time the facility has had a need, he was there without complaint. In early 2019, Marcus helped when the prison lost its sewage treatment plant operator. He has been instrumental in maintaining effective operations of the plant and has embraced the assignment of this demanding job. He focused his efforts on learning all aspects of his newest challenge and will soon receive his state license for waste water treatment plant operator. Marcus is a difficult and invaluable asset to the prison.

MENTOR OF THE YEAR - CORRECTIONS

Vernice Phillips, Corrections Officer 3, SCI Mercer

Vernice Phillips has a long and involved relationship with the department's mentoring programs.  In 2013, she was chosen as SCI Albion's first mentoring coordinator and helped that institution launch its mentoring program. After transferring to SCI Mercer in 2015, she was recruited to the Mentoring Committee and took over as coordinator that same year.  Vernice has not limited herself to narrowly focusing on her job, instead she volunteers her time in ways that help her coworkers.  In addition to coordinating the Mentoring Committee at SCI Mercer, she has also assisted with the Morale Committee and the CISM team. Vernice has sought out ways to improve her professional growth and capabilities, becoming an instructor in many of the department's most recent endeavors to include WRAP, Professional Boundaries, Suicide Prevention, and soon, the CPS Inmate Program. Over the years, she has lent this wealth of knowledge and experience to others, personally taking on eight mentees including her current one -- Lawanda Green.  Vernice's advice and influence has directly benefited Lawanda's professional growth over the two years of their relationship, seeing her achieve promotion to sergeant in 2019. In addition to all of that, Vernice still finds time to help others outside of work by mentoring young girls at Keystone Adolescents since 2001.  Lt. Vernice Phillips embodies the very idea of what a mentor should be within the department.

WESTERN REGION, SOUTH/EAST,
SCI LAUREL HIGHLANDS

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE AWARD

Matthew Pyo, Unit Manager SCI Houtzdale

As unit manager for the RTU and SNU, Matthew was instrumental in implementation of a co-occurring therapeutic community on SNU, bringing about positive change. He has instilled a great deal of pride throughout the facility. He also supervises the CPS program, including processing, selection and training of all the CPS workers at the prison to ensure every housing unit has one assigned to it. He also ensures annual training requirements are met. Matthew has an extraordinary ability to communicate with inmates who have mental health and intellectual disabilities. He has the ability to get others to be more self-aware and take ownership of actions, which keeps inmates from acting out negatively and promotes positive adjustment. Matthew served as Hostage Negotiation Team leader. He has a strong work ethic, positive outlook and excellent ability to lead and manage others. Routinely counted on to act as CCPM and major of unit management when needed, Matthew is president of the local area baseball association and is a youth baseball coach. He also serves as treasurer for local football league and served as head football coach.

Colin Creveling, Registered Nurse Supervisor, SCI Laurel Highlands

Colin, who is currently a registered nurse supervisor, has been instrumental in staff development regarding the Sapphire HER Program implementation.  He has not only educated the Medical Department employees at SCI Laurel Highlands, but he has also educated all other departments that utilize Sapphire.  He has been an innovative factor in the ongoing development and expansion of this vital program.  Due to his knowledge of this program, he has helped develop aspects of Sapphire unique to SCI Laurel Highlands. Colin assisted the DOC's Bureau of Health Care Services during SCI Graterford's transition to SCI Phoenix by remaining on site at Phoenix for a period of time.  During that time, he re-educated medical staff on policy and procedures, while developing their Sapphire and computer skills.  He has significant computer skills above and beyond most staff.  He recently developed a program that enhances Medical's ability to process and configure pictures.  This program streamlined pictures on medical injuries for Security in an organized professional manner.  This will drastically save much needed time for the SCI Laurel Highlands Medical Department.  His innovations and knowledge have enhanced the Medical Department overall.  Colin also assisted in the implementation of the Captor Program in the Medical Department's daily routines to ensure all inmates leave with their MA numbers activated.  His expertise has positively impacted numerous inmates' ability to reintegrate successfully into our communities.  He worked closely with the Parole Department to improve the efficiency of the logistics in activating this program within SCI Laurel Highlands.  Colin's willingness to assist other departments improves the cohesiveness of the daily operations at SCI Laurel Highlands. His computer talents were also utilized while covering as the Medical Records Department supervisor for a six-month period while the MRT position was vacant.  This period occurred while Sapphire was still expanding and he again proved himself as an extremely valuable asset for the SCI Laurel Highlands medical team. Colin is devoted to this family and friends, often assisting others in any way that he can.  He is well respected by his peers and subordinates who appreciate his expertise and look to him for guidance.  He is a valuable member of the SCI Laurel Highlands Medical Team. 

Kristy Santoyo, Garment Factory Supervisor, Pennsylvania Correctional Industries, SCI Greene

Ms. Santoyo has single handedly been coordinating the running of the CI Shop due to the retirement of coworkers from SCI Greene.  Her proactive approach to duty, personal motivation, and commitment to doing her job correctly has been recognized and applauded throughout the Department.  During a pandemic and when PPE's were in high demand, the CI Shop at SCI Greene was tasked with producing face masks not only for the DOC, but other state agencies.  The CI shop surpassed 100,000 masks produced on May 14, 2020 under her supervision. This production occurred under challenging circumstances, including a limited inmate work force and the need to ensure social distancing and cohort integrity was maintained in the shop. 

Her knowledge and understanding in the field of CI are both noteworthy and valued and her commitment to duty, especially during this COVID pandemic has directly benefited the institution, DOC and entire Commonwealth.

MENTOR OF THE YEAR – PAROLE/REENTRY/BCC

Nate Simon, Parole Supervisor, Pittsburgh District

Nate has been involved with the parole mentoring initiative since it began in the fall of 2018.  He has been instrumental in recruiting staff to be mentors in the Pittsburgh District as well as identifying staff to be mentored.  He has helped organize and host trainings at his district and regionally. Nate has helped maintain and organize records and also provided the initial mentor training to a few in the Pittsburgh District Office on his own.  Nate is always willing to attend and contribute.  He has been willing to attend meetings and training with DOC staff and report back to the Western Regional Parole Committee.  He is professional and displays a kind, presentable demeanor.  Nate's supervisor job is very demanding, yet he always makes time for the mentoring initiatives and meetings.  He has even been paired with a mentee of his own in addition to serving as a local coordinator. Nate helped organize a regional training in the West in December and even showed up with snack and drinks for the attendees without anyone asking or compensating him.  He demonstrates genuine care and commitment for staff and the mentoring program. 

THOMAS A. FULCOMER AWARD

William Norvell, Facility Maintenance Manager 3, SCI Houtzdale

William is described as an exceptional person who has set the standard for a facility maintenance manager. He is forward thinking when handling/addressing needs of the prison. He uses an analytical approach to operations and is vital to operation of the prison. William's coworkers describe him as being non-stop, demanding, relentless and consistent in his approach. Someone who needs little to no supervision, William exceeds required work expectations. He holds himself and staff to high standards. He introduces new initiatives to maximize efficiency and operations, and he is proactive instead of reactive. His direction, leadership and communication skills increased the workflow and morale. He places huge emphasis on being proactive, and such improvements reduce future repair costs. He was involved in the LED lighting upgrade project, which will save 216 percent over five years. William also implemented staff/schedule changes that have eliminated overtime. Under his leadership, his department has adopted low-income families' children, in conjunction with the YMCA, and provides them with holiday gifts. He and his staff also set up and tear down local community events in Houtzdale. He consistently helps is coworkers and all other departments. Over this past year William was involved in security enhancements – system upgrades, metal detector replacements, mailroom upgrades, drone detection, body scanner, dietary, yard officer platforms and L5 RHU upgrades. He also was involved in institutional enhancements like dog wash station, memorial wall, exercise yard, increased inmate capacity on all units, painting of units, attorney/client rooms, Pell lab, RSO lab, C.O.V.E.R. room, canopy station, security office enhancement. He has been a DOC employee since 1995, and has worked at Smithfield, Chester, Houtzdale, Benner and now back to HOU. For 10 years he volunteers as a coach for Huntingdon County Youth Football.

MEDAL OF VALOR

Terry Dewitt, Corrections Officer 1, SCI Houtzdale

On January 22, 2020, Officer Terry Dewitt was ordering food at a restaurant drive through widow when he observed an elderly female customer in distress inside of the restaurant. Dewitt asked the drive through staff if the customer was alright, and he was informed that the customer was choking. Dewitt immediately drove to the front of the restaurant, ran inside, and began rendering aid. The customer had collapsed and was unresponsive when Dewitt arrived. Emergency responders had been notified, but were several minutes away. Officer Dewitt assessed the situation and performed the Heimlich maneuver on the woman, saving her life. Upon the arrival of emergency responders, the woman was transported via ambulance to the local hospital for further evaluation. She and her family have since reached out to Officer Dewitt, expressing their gratitude for his heroic action.

VICKI D. WEISEL AWARD

Tanja Hayles, Reentry Parole Agent,  SCI Houtzdale

Agent Tanja Hayles worked diligently on the new vision of the RSO model at SCI Houtzdale.  She was given a vision and task which was the first of its kind for the Reentry Bureau and created a room inside SCI Houtzdale that would be a model used in every institution across the state.  It took planning, creativity, logistics, communication and numerous re-sets to get it right.  Agent Hayles carried out the assignment with a great attitude perspective that was much needed for this large task. The RSO she worked so hard to create will be duplicated in all institutions across the state.