CCA Announces 2011 Courage Award Winners

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Texas and Tennessee officers honored for their heroic response and outstanding bravery in the face of danger, risking their own personal safety to protect others in their communities.

Courage Award winner, officer Jose Aguilera with CCA director Steve Conry and warden Mario Garcia at Webb County Detention Center, Laredo, Texas

CCA Courage Award winners have gone over and beyond the call of duty," said Damon Hininger, CCA president and chief executive officer. "Most of all, they have done the right thing at the right time for the right reason, helping others.

CCA, America's leader in partnership corrections, is proud to recognize two employees as its 2011 Courage Award winners. The annual companywide recognition honors personal acts of bravery and heroism that potentially save lives at the risk of personal safety.

CCA's 2011 Courage Award recipients include: Jose Aguilera, a detention officer and special operations response team (SORT) commander from Webb County Detention Center in Laredo, Texas and Anthony Starks, a correctional officer at the West Tennessee Detention Facility in Mason, Tennessee.

"This year's recipients demonstrate how ordinary people can take extraordinary steps to intervene and likely prevent injuries and even save lives," said Steve Conry, CCA vice president of facility operations. "Their actions show bravery in the midst of the most unexpected circumstances, and to that end we are truly grateful."

Detention officer Aguilera is credited with preventing an inmate escape at a Laredo hospital. The inmate, in the custody of a local law enforcement officer, had removed his handcuffs and was attempting to flee when Aguilera intervened.

"Commander Aguilera's courageous action prevented what could have been a deadly situation," said Fernando Rodriguez, Webb County Detention Center Chief of Security. "This incident ended without loss of life or blood shed thanks to Mr. Aguilera's alertness and courage."

Correctional Officer Anthony Starks, while driving though Stanton, Tennessee, spotted a house fire and without hesitation entered the home with his son and got the owner to safety. Additionally, while waiting for the fire department to arrive, Starks returned to try and extinguish the fire.

"Such valor and bravery exhibited by one of our CCA staff members brings us tremendous pride," said Michael Donahue, West Tennessee Detention Facility Warden. "Despite significant smoke inhalation, officer Starks returned to work the next day without complaint."

The 2011 Courage Award winners were selected from among 24 brave men and women who were nominated. The selection process was by no means easy, as CCA received moving testimonies and amazing stories from throughout the company.

"CCA Courage Award winners and nominees have gone over and beyond the call of duty in their facilities and home communities," said Damon Hininger, CCA president and chief executive officer. "Most of all, they have done the right thing at the right time for the right reason, helping others."

The CCA Courage Award was established in 2010 as a new way of recognizing the company's most valiant men and women who have performed bravery in the midst of the most unexpected and severe circumstances.

Employees at any level and any position or department can nominate a colleague throughout the year. Annual winners are selected during the month of October, which is nationally recognized as "Courage Month." Award recipients receive a certificate, lapel pin, companywide recognition, a cash award and a facility celebration attended by CCA's executive leadership.

About CCA
CCA is the nation’s largest provider of partnership corrections to federal, state and local government, operating more than 60 facilities, including more than 40 company-owned facilities, with approximately 90,000 beds, in 20 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to providing the residential services for inmates, CCA facilities offer rehabilitation and educational programs, including education, vocation, religious services, life skills and employment training and substance abuse treatment. For more, visit and


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