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Report: Gov. Justice appoints Mark Sorsaia as Secretary of Dept. of Homeland Security

Governor Justice thanks Juvenile Services duo after rescue


October 30, 2017

Governor Justice thanks Juvenile Services duo after rescue

 CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Governor Jim Justice has honored two Division of Juvenile Services employees after they helped rescue a seriously injured hiker in Monongahela National Forest.

 Deputy Chief of Staff Ann Vincent Urling presented letters of thanks from Governor Justice to Correctional Officer II Brendon Scott and Correctional Counselor II Derek Sliwinski during a Governor’s Mansion event earlier this month.

 Scott and Sliwinski had finished their shifts at the Kenneth “Honey” Rubenstein Juvenile Center on Sept. 28 when they decided to hike the forest. They arrived to find a precarious scene: other hikers had discovered that a man near the famed Table Rock overlook had fallen down a crevice about 60 feet below the trail.

 “He was severely concussed, and had a lot of lacerations to his head and eye,” Sliwinski recalled.

 Scott and Sliwinski then worked alongside State Police First Sergeant Kevin Keplinger and members of the Canaan Valley and Davis volunteer fire departments to descend into the crevice and hoist the injured hiker back to the trail with ropes. The man was carried on a wheeled stretcher the 1.2 miles on the trail to an access road. He was ultimately airlifted by helicopter from a Davis baseball field to a Morgantown hospital. 

 Juvenile Services is part of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, and Cabinet Secretary Jeff Sandy arranged for the Mansion event to recognize “these exceptional young men.”

“Every day, the employees of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety perform exceptional tasks, and not just in West Virginia but also around the world,” Secretary Sandy said. “The citizens of West Virginia should be very proud of our public servants.”

 Secretary Sandy added that he also discussed with them the legislative efforts proposed for 2018 to aid correctional employees.

 Sliwinski is a 2014 graduate of West Virginia University from Pittsburgh, and joined DJS about two and a half years ago as he pursues a career in law enforcement. Scott is a three-year veteran of the agency who chose to work at the Rubenstein Center in Davis to stay in his native Tucker County.

 Both men said they drew on prior training to respond to the accident. Sliwinski provides defensive tactics and other training for DJS, while Scott has a background as an Emergency Medical Technician.

 “I would say our training with DJS played a role, in terms of knowing to stay calm in a situation like that, and knowing what to look for in different circumstances,” Scott said.

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LAWRENCE MESSINA (304) 558-2930 Lawrence.C.Messina@wv.gov