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Deputy Underwood-Nunez to receive 2013 ACO Medal of Honor Award for her lifesaving heroism



CRDF Deputy Jenna Underwood-Nunez will be presented the 2013 ACO Medal of Honor Award on November 7-10, 2013 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This award is the only national award for Correctional Officers in the nation. Her award is well deserved after she saved a teenager from drowning in a lake, risking her own life. Due to her good instinct, inner strength and will not to give up, a young man is now able to enjoy his high school graduation and future.

On April 27, 2013, Senior Deputy Underwood-Nunez was off-duty eating dinner with her husband and children at a snack bar restaurant at the Silverwood Lake Campground when she heard yelling coming from the lake.

She saw two individuals in the water, one signaling for help and the other splashing, clearly in distress. She immediately swam to where she saw the two men, but only one was visible. She asked the man signaling for help where his friend was and he replied, "Under the water!" It became very clear at that moment the seriousness of the situation, every second counted.

Deputy Underwood-Nunez, five and half months pregnant, dove under the water in search for the victim until she located him on the bottom of the lake. She grabbed onto the victim and struggled as she swam to the surface. The victim was unresponsive and not breathing. As fate would have it, while she struggled to swim back to shore with the victim, she saw a man and his daughter in a small inflatable boat paddling about 15 feet away from her. She used all her waning energy and swam to the inflatable boat as she held onto the victim with her left arm, and paddled to shore.

Once she reached shore, she administered four cycles of CPR until the victim began breathing on his own. She placed the victim in a recovery position while maintaining his airway, talking to him, and reassuring him until Park rangers arrived about 10 minutes later and paramedics at least 20 minutes later. The victim was airlifted to a hospital approximately 40 minutes after the incident began. The victim was later identified as a 17-year-old high school senior, and is expected to make a full recovery. The victim has since attended his senior prom and high school graduation.




Deputy Underwood-Nunez


Sheriff Baca and Deputy Underwood-Nunez







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