RIVERSIDE – The Riverside County Board of Supervisors unanimously authorized the establishment of a Medal of Valor award to be bestowed upon any resident – civilian, active duty or former military – for acts of heroism or distinction during which the recipient put their life in peril.
“Establishing the Riverside County Medal of Valor will help recognize any private citizen, public employee … veterans, military personnel currently serving our nation in federal or state military service and others deemed deserving,” Supervisor V. Manuel Perez said in his proposal calling for creation of the medal. “The medal shall be awarded to an individual who distinguishes herself or himself by valorous conduct at the risk of life.”
The supervisor said that the county established a Distinguished Service Award in 1975 that is generally furnished to retiring department heads, elected officials and judicial officers.
The sheriff’s department has its own service awards, and deputies along with firefighters are eligible for the California Medal of Valor – if their actions rise to that level of sacrifice.
The accolade is not unlike the certificates of valor established under the Military Veterans Recognition Act of 2013, sponsored by former Supervisor Jeff Stone, during the watch of former county Military Affairs Commissioner Tom Freeman, who is now an adviser to Perez.
The certificates are awarded primarily to current and former military personnel who have already received recognition from the U.S. Department of Defense for acts of distinction, though certificates can also be issued to residents who have received any one of several medals from California martial authorities.
As with the certificates, a person will have to be nominated to receive a Medal of Valor. According to Perez, the county Department of Human Resources will handle processing the nominations and submitting them to the board for consideration.
“If approved, a date, time and location will be established for presentation of the Medal of Valor,” the supervisor said.
Design of the medal has yet to be determined, but Perez said it should be anchored to a ribbon that can be worn about the neck.
The per-medal cost of production is anticipated to be roughly $250. No vendor has been identified as a prospective producer.