October 30, 2017
Justice thanks Juvenile Services duo after rescue
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
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
“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.