TALLAHASSEE — During the meeting of the Florida Cabinet on March 6, Governor Rick Scott recognized Sergeant Stephen Gillman and Officers Sophia White, Jamie Fischer, and Timothy Smith of Holmes Correctional Institution with the Medal of Heroism for their courageous actions. On Aug. 18, 2013, an inmate abruptly attacked Sergeant Stephen Gillman during the noon meal at Holmes Correctional Institution in Bonifay. Officers White, Fischer, and Smith immediately responded to the assault as they observed Sergeant Gillman slashed in the head and back with a pick-style weapon by the inmate. The officers subdued the inmate and placed him in restraints.
The attack was a gang “hit” that had been put out on Sergeant Gillman because he identified a staff member for supplying tobacco and other contraband items to the inmates at the facility – resulting in the arrest of the employee.
“It is an honor for me to present the Medal of Heroism to these brave officers,” Governor Scott said, “Their quick response helped prevent other individuals from getting harmed. Not only did they demonstrate their dedication to service and their commitment to public safety, but also kept their fellow correctional officers and inmates safe.”
Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Michael Crews said, “The swift action taken by Sergeant Gillman and Officers White, Fischer and Smith is a testament to their devotion and shows they acted to come to the aid of one of their own and not give a second thought to their own personal safety.”
“Their selfless actions saved the life of their colleague and the lives of inmates,” said Crews. “I applaud the response of these officers and appreciate the Governor for recognizing them with this most-deserved Medal.”
The Medal of Heroism is given to any law enforcement or correctional officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician or paramedic who has distinguished himself or herself by risking his or her life deliberately above and beyond the call of duty and must have engaged in hazardous or perilous activities to preserve lives with the knowledge that such activities might result in great personal harm.