California Department of Transportation District 11 ­ San Diego & Imperial Counties

District 11

Monday, Dec. 13, 2010

Contact: Public Information Officer Hayden Manning

Phone: (619) 688-6670

Caltrans Workers Awarded Governorís Medals of Valor

SAN DIEGO – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger honored five local California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) workers last week for their efforts to save a woman from her burning car after it wrecked along a remote section of Interstate 8 in June.

The five highway maintenance workers were among those honored during the 2010 Governor’s Medal of Valor Awards Ceremony Tuesday at the Crest Theater in Sacramento.  Tommy Neri, Leonardo Necochea, Pablo Diaz and Pedro Vasquez received the Gold Medal of Valor and Arthur Grijalva the Silver Medal of Valor from Governor Schwarzenegger.

The awards are the highest honor California bestows on its public servants whose extraordinary acts of bravery and heroism saved human lives.  More than 400 medals have been awarded to state employees since the program began in 1959.   

“They are heroes in every sense of the word, and we are proud to call them members of the Caltrans Family,” said Caltrans District 11 Director Laurie Berman.  She added that the circumstances surrounding the life-saving heroics on I-8 in Imperial County required the men to react quickly with little regard for their own safety and make use of available resources to remove the woman from her vehicle just moments before it became engulfed in flames sparked by the wreck.  The men administered first aid and even provided highway traffic control until emergency help arrived. 

Immediately following the awards ceremony in Sacramento, the honorees joined Governor Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting at the State Capitol.  The Governor named it the "Tree of Heroes."

Medal of Valor ceremony From left: Caltrans Director Cindy McKim, District 11 Deputy Director Maintenance Division Cory Binns, Caltrans Maintenance Workers Tommy Neri, Pablo Diaz, Pedro Vasquez, Leonardo Necochea, Caltrans District 11 Director Laurie Berman and Caltrans Interim Deputy Director Malcolm Dougherty. Medal of Valor winners look at the names of previous recipients

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