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Pelican Bay employees awarded

By Nicholas Grube

Triplicate staff writer

More than 80 Pelican Bay State Prison employees were honored by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Friday for their heroism both on and off duty.

Two employees, Lt. Troy Wood and Officer Kennith "Nate" Trimm were each awarded the Bronze Star Medal for their part in saving the life of a fellow officer.

In April 2006, Wood, Trimm and another prison employee were working on a stock car in a Crescent City workshop when a fuel line erupted and engulfed their fellow employee in flames. Wood and Trimm, reacting quickly to the situation immediately put out the persistent flames with fire extinguishers and took their friend to the hospital.

At Friday's ceremony on the steps of the state capital in Sacramento, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary James Tilton honored Wood and Trimm.

"We congratulate them and thank them for their heroism and courage in helping save the life of a fellow correctional officer," Tilton said in a press release. "We honor them today with the Bronze Star."

The Bronze Star is the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's fourth highest award, behind the Medal of Valor and the Gold and Silver Stars. It is given, according to the press release, "for saving a life without putting oneself in peril. The employee shall have used proper training and tactics in a professional manner to save, or clearly contribute to saving, the life of of another person."

Other correctional officers and medical staff members will be awarded Unit Citations at a separate ceremony in Crescent City on June 14. Unit Citations, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's web site, are given "for great courage displayed by a departmental unit in the course of conducting an operation in the face of immediate life-threatening circumstances."

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