The Fresno County sheriff’s search-and-rescue team was honored Wednesday for its role in finding Miyuki Harwood, the Folsom woman who was lost for nine days in the Sierra National Forest.
Sheriff Margaret Mims presided over a ceremony that included commendations for others, an array of promotions including a new assistant sheriff, and welcoming new employees. The ceremony was held at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in downtown Fresno.
Harwood was hiking last August when she became separated from her Sierra Club group near Horsehead Lake, about 100 miles northeast of Fresno. She was found injured but alive by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team 19 miles east of Courtright Reservoir when the team heard her faint whistle.
Also honored for his role in the rescue was Deputy Joel Cobb, who was praised for his expertise in electronic communications and assisting the team during their search for Harwood.
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Other honorees were:
Deputies Todd Burk and Michael Estrada for helping a child who lost a parent.
Jose Sanchez for saving a baby from a burning car on Aug. 28 near Easton.
Naomi Flam of the Central California Animal Disaster Team for helping residents with their pets during the Rough Fire.
Nancy Blajos, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office employee of the year for 2015.
New hires will bring the department’s staffing to more than 1,100 people.
Mims also recognized more than two dozen promotions, including Robert Kandarian as assistant sheriff. Other promotions were:
▪ Capts. John Zanoni and Steve McComas.
▪ Lts. Matthew Alexander, Brent Stalker, Kevin Lolkus and Richard Wilhoite; correctional Lt. Kefer McCoy.
▪ Sgts. Jacob Jensen, Arley Terrence, Adam Esmay, Quintin Hawkins and David Pugliese; correctional Sgts. Cinthya Messick, Isaac Torres, Chris Garcia, Che Garcia, Marti Velasco and Roger Oliver.
▪ Deputy IV Robert McEwen, Scott Weishaar, Robert Carey, Philip Lodge, Hector Palma, Matthew Hamilton, Anthony Gomez, Mark Fam, David Rippe, Kenneth Kalar.
▪ Supervising communications dispatcher Christopher Guerrero; supervising account clerk II Janice Stevens; process server Cortney Garcia-Porta; accountant I Hesham Wahba.
Mims also welcomed about 100 new employees. The new hires will bring the department’s staffing to more than 1,100 people, the sheriff’s office said.