CONTACT: DOC Communications,

MADISON – During a ceremony at the Wisconsin State Capitol, Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Jon Litscher joined DOC leadership, family, and friends to recognize a number of DOC staff for their exceptional performance.

The SALUTE Awards Ceremony, which is held annually, recognizes employees who exemplify the highest standards of the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. Employees received awards for valor and lifesaving, as well as awards recognizing employees for outstanding performance in the following categories: service, awareness, leadership, uniqueness, team, and excellence.

“Our employees make me incredibly proud,” said Secretary Litscher. “The individuals we recognized today represent the very best of the Department of Corrections – staff who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make our Department better. On behalf of the people of Wisconsin, I am pleased to thank these employees for their service to our state.”

Valor Award Recipients

  • Andrew Boerst, Correctional Officer, Green Bay Correctional Institution, Green Bay: Intervened and confronted an inmate armed with a weapon who was attacking a psychologist at GBCI, sustaining an injury in the process. He continued to confront the attacker until help arrived.
  • Mark Garavalia, Lieutenant, Jackson Correctional Institution, Black River Falls: Came upon a vehicle rolled over with the victim pinned inside the car and a downed power line. Lt. Garavalia notified law enforcement and stayed with the victim until responders arrived.

Lifesaving Award Recipients

  • Bryan Brennan, Correctional Officer, Oakhill Correctional Institution, Oregon: Officer Brennan and his son observed an individual sitting in a car who was experiencing a medical emergency. Officer Brennan and his son performed lifesaving measures until emergency responders arrived. Officer Brennan received a Valor award in 2016.
  • Heidi Corey, Probation and Parole Agent, Division of Community Corrections – Region 6, Oconto: Agent Corey received a phone call from a suicidal offender and kept the offender on the phone until police arrived.
  • Robert Drehmel, Correctional Officer, Waupun Correctional Institution, Waupun: Officer Drehmel was off duty and came upon an individual laying in the street who had overdosed on heroin. Officer Drehmel called 911 and performed lifesaving measures until paramedics arrived.
  • Dean Knollenberg, Correctional Officer, Redgranite Correctional Institution, Redgranite: Officer Knollenberg was the first to respond to a serious car accident and stayed with the victim until emergency responders arrived.
  • Dr. Prapti Kuber, Physician, Dodge Correctional Institution, Waupun: Dr. Kuber was driving to work when she came across a vehicle accident. Dr. Kuber provided medical care until an ambulance arrived.
  • Shane Steffen, Correctional Officer, Milwaukee Women’s Correctional Center, Milwaukee: Officer Steffen was leaving work and saw an individual performing chest compressions. He assisted in performing lifesaving measures until paramedics arrived.
  • Sandra Stephan, Social Worker, Chippewa Valley Correctional Treatment Facility, Chippewa Falls: Ms. Stephan was driving home when she witnessed a car drive off the road and roll down an embankment. She called 911 and stayed with the driver until paramedics arrived.

SALUTE Award Recipients 

  • Service award winner – Joan Braun, Kettle Moraine Correctional Institution, Plymouth: Ms. Braun has worked in the KMCI business office since 1981 and serves as a valuable resource to both the institution and Division of Adult Institutions.
  • Awareness award winner – Joelle Kotecki, Division of Community Corrections – Region 1, Madison: Agent Kotecki has repeatedly gone above and beyond the call of duty to help ensure that offenders can access treatment and programming services critical to their continued success in the community.
  • Leadership award winner – Sherry Govier, Wisconsin Secure Program Facility, Boscobel: Sergeant Govier has taken on many roles at WSPF and serves as an invaluable resource for staff at WSPF and throughout the Division of Adult Institutions.
  • Uniqueness award winner – Kane Casolari, Division of Management Services, Madison: Mr. Casolari developed a tool that enables DOC staff to perform audits much more quickly utilizing technology.
  • Team award winner – Dr. Tracy Johnson, Dr. Melissa Parrent, Dr. Cynthia Bainbridge, Dr. Cassandra Jennings, Luke Severt, Karyn Mehringer, Torie Sebranek, and Debra Koch, Copper Lake School/Lincoln Hills School, Irma: The CLS/LHS PSU staff have identified and implemented significant enhancements that result in youth receiving quality mental health services.
  • Excellence award winner – Dylon Radtke, Dodge Correctional Institution, Waupun: Security Director Radtke manages security at DCI as well as taking a leadership role through DOC’s Use of Force Committee and conducting a number of Use of Force Reviews of incidents that occurred at CLS/LHS.
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