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PR- 473-10
November 17, 2010


New Mayor’s Award Given to Six Uniformed and Two Civilian Staff who Demonstrated Exceptional Job Performance

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Correction Commissioner Dora B. Schriro today presented medals and certificates to more than 30 Department of Correction staff who were honored for bravery and outstanding contributions both on and off duty. The presentations were made at the Correction Department’s Medal Day at the George Motchan Detention Center, one of 10 jails on Rikers Island. Awardees included three employees honored for bravery in rescuing people from auto accidents and a fire, and numerous others for bravery and quick thinking on the job. Eight employees were chosen to receive the Department’s new Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Corrections – honoring uniformed and civilian staff who perform at the highest levels and exhibit a commitment to volunteer work in the community. 

“The good work of our Correction Officers and civilians goes unnoticed too much of the time,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “But I know that the men and women standing before me represent the best of the best, and I ask that all of you continue to lead by example. It is especially noteworthy that many of the men and women we’re honoring today performed the acts of bravery that we’re recognizing while off-duty. Our Boldest were on alert and ready to help their fellow citizens, even if it meant putting themselves in harm’s way.”

“The men and women of the Department of the Correction being honored today give truth to the name ‘New York’s Boldest’,” said Commissioner Schriro. “They exemplify the best in the field of corrections and they are also committed New Yorkers who give back to the community, helping to strengthen the City we all love.”  

The Medal of Honor awardees included:

  • Civilian auto mechanic Edward Clas, who three times rushed into a smoke filled burning house in his neighborhood to save two young children and an elderly woman.

  • Off-duty Correction Officer Lenin Orellana, for his bravery in removing a critically injured driver from a fatal, fiery head-on crash between a car and an airport van on the Long Island Expressway.

  • Off-duty Correction Officer Eric Poggioli, for his valor in entering a crashed and burning vehicle moments before it exploded into flames on the Gowanus Expressway, pulling the driver to safety and assisting him until medical help arrived.

The new Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Corrections was awarded to six uniformed staff and two civilians who demonstrated exceptional on the job performance, exhibiting a high level of skill and professionalism and serving as role models to their colleagues while also giving generously of their time in volunteer activities in the community. Candidates for the new award were nominated by their co-workers.  The Mayor’s Award winners include:

  • The late Assistant Deputy Warden Janice Jackson, who until her death this year was assigned to the Manhattan Detention Complex.  She was honored for her every day excellence, her superior leadership qualities, her concern for the ever-improving performance of her staff, her perennial leadership of the annual Christmas gift drive for poor children, and her lifetime devotion to leading or contributing to many other community charities.

  • Captain Natalie Branch, a 21-year Correction veteran who also supports numerous community organizations and charities and often takes a personal leadership role, as she did in initiating a public school essay contest in which she provided cash awards for elementary school students whose assignment was to write about “What will I do to help underprivileged children when I grow up”.   

  • Correction Officer Edwin Natal ably represents the Department as a member of its Ceremonial Unit, but also is an outstanding officer at the Eric M. Taylor Center and a youth coach in martial arts, basketball, baseball and other programs.

Captain Brian O’Hara has served 14 years in the Department and is a recognized leader in raising funds for the Children’s Hospital at Columbia Presbyterian.


Stu Loeser / Jessica Scaperotti   (212) 788-2958

Sharman Stein / Stephen Morello   (718) 546-0631

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