Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

                                               NEWS RELEASE                                                              


NEWS RELEASE                                     Governor Bob Taft



COLUMBUS (December 6, 2001) — First Lady Hope Taft today joined Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Director Reginald A. Wilkinson in honoring DRC staff who responded to the September 11th terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and long-time employees who have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities during their careers at DRC.

The Humanitarian Gold Star award was presented to nine employees who assisted in the search and rescue effort, or provided aid to victims and survivors in New York.  For the first time, a dog also was honored with an award.  A German Shepherd, named Sonny, and his handler Corrections Officer Pat Curtiss from the London Correctional Institution received awards for their search and rescue work at “Ground Zero.”   

“Many Ohioans gave blood, offered prayers or sent donations to the survivors,” Governor Bob Taft said. “Those of you we honor today did even more.  You packed your bags, left your homes, and volunteered at the site of the tragedy.  I commend you for getting personally involved to help others at a time of great need.” 

The Gold Star for Leadership Award was presented to 19 recipients including wardens, executive staff and others who made significant contributions to the Department and provided leadership throughout their careers. “Together, the men and women receiving the Gold Star for Leadership Award today represent some 600 years of experience, expertise, dedication, ingenuity and much, much more,” Wilkinson said.  “It is indeed difficult to imagine our Department without them.”

Students from the Harrisburg Elementary School, one of DRC’s OhioReads partners, participated in the patriotic event by leading the Pledge of Allegiance and singing “America the Beautiful.”  The ceremony was held at the Corrections Training Academy in Orient.

This is the first year for the Humanitarian Gold Star and Leadership Gold Star awards.  The Gold Star awards were established by Director Wilkinson in 1992 to recognize exemplary employees.  In 2000, the Gold Star for Valor was established to recognize employees who saved a life or responded to a dangerous situation.  

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Contact: Andrea Dean, DRC, at (614) 752-1150; or Joe Andrews, Governor’s Office, at (614) 644-0957.