Friday, April 15, 2016

State Employee Medal of Valor Award on April 12, presented by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.

Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty awards Johnson
The State Employee Medal of Valor Award is the highest honor California bestows on its public servants.
 
Mark E. Johnson earned the gold medal for rescuing a pregnant woman on June 22, 2015, after her car crashed into his Caltrans skip-loader tractor on State Route 14 near Agua Dulce in Los Angeles County.
 
Her car began to burn and she was trapped inside it, unable to open the door. Johnson managed to pry open the door of the burning car and helped the driver to safety.

L to R: Caltrans District 7 Director Carrie Bowen, Mark Johnson
and Deputy District 7 Director of Maintenance Debbie Wong 
 
Then he took action to put out the grass fire that was ignited by the burning car.
 
Johnson, a 32-year veteran Caltrans Equipment Operator II, is based in District 7 North Region Maintenance.
 
His courageous action occurred about 10 a.m. as he was safely driving his slow-moving skip-loader tractor, with its amber lights flashing, along the paved right shoulder of the northbound freeway. He was heading to the worksite to meet up with the rest of his work crew.
 

Mark E. Johnson
Suddenly the car rear-ended his skip loader. He felt a powerful jolt, turned to assess the situation and saw that the car had sustained severe front-end damage and was starting to burn.
 
He rescued the driver, led her to a safe area along the guard rail and provided her some drinking water. Then he grabbed a shovel from the skip loader and began putting out the grass fire.
 
Soon, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the California Highway Patrol and paramedics arrived. Both the driver and Johnson were taken to the hospital for examination. Johnson was released later that day and was cleared to return to work.
 
The car’s driver sustained some injuries but suffered no serious injury, thanks to Johnson’s quick thinking and immediate action.
 
Medal of Valor
For courageously risking his life in the face of danger, Johnson was presented the Gold Medal of Valor, in recognition of his willingness to perform an extraordinary act of heroism far above and beyond the normal call of duty, at great risk to his own life in an effort to save a human life.
 
“All Caltrans employees are honorable servants of the state of California – with many exposed to the elements, explosives, heavy equipment and fast-moving traffic, but once in a while an employee will display extraordinary bravery, courage and selflessness in the face of danger,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. “We honor those employees and thank them for their continued service.”
 
Johnson was one of four Caltrans employees who received the State Employee Medal of Valor Award on April 12, presented by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr.