Shasta County correctional officer receives Medal of Valor

Sep 9, 2014 4:42 PM by News Staff

A Shasta County correctional officer has been awarded the Governor's Public Safety Medal of Valor, the highest honor California bestows on its public servants, for his heroic actions during a 2013 dive operation at Lake Shasta.

Correctional Officer John Zufall is scheduled to be recognized in a ceremony at the State Capitol on September 15 after being nominated for the award by Sheriff Tom Bosenko.

Zufall, a 14-year-veteran of the sheriff's department, was working a routine operation as a member of the Shasta County Dive Team on September 8, 2013. Zufall was working as the "safety diver", meaning he was charged with hovering at 100 feet to monitor the safety of a diver working below him.

The diver working below Zufall failed to surface when his time table to do so expired. Sensing that something had gone wrong, Zufall descended to a staggering depth of 172 feet where he found his fellow diver injured. Despite the extreme danger to himself Zufall rapidly ascended to the surface to save his fellow diver.

Before his time with the Shasta County Sheriff's Department Zufall worked as diver in the United States Navy, because of this experience he was certainly aware of the dangers an ascent from that depth presents.

Zufall underwent two rounds of intensive decompression treatment, and fortunately was able return to duty a short time after.

In addition to next week's celebration at the State Capitol, Zufall was awarded the Shasta County Sheriff's Office Medal of Valor in January, and is scheduled to receive the California Peace Officers Association Medal of Valor in October.

The Governor's State Employee Medal of Valor Award is the highest honor California bestows on its public servants, the first one was awarded in 1959. To date 524 medals have been awarded to state employees in all professions.


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