Over five dozen Lake County Sheriff’s Office employees were awarded at a ceremony Thursday afternoon where officials also paid tribute to Canine Diesel, who suddenly died of cancer last month.
Sheriff John D. Idleburg presented the awards in the sheriff’s training room to employees who performed brave, heroic and life-saving acts.
Idleburg started the ceremony by saying, “I am very proud of everyone being recognized today. We will also have an opportunity to pay tribute to our beloved Canine Diesel, who suddenly passed away after battling an aggressive form of cancer. Please continue keeping Deputy Somerville and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Seven employees were presented with the Sheriff’s Distinguished Service Award.
It is awarded when a member of the sheriff’s office performs an act of bravery, extraordinary achievement or outstanding meritorious service that sets the member apart from others, Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Christopher Covelli said.
Corrections Officer Kimberly Corsaw, Sergeant Michael Kuvales and Deputies Vince Marturano, Kevin Tietz, Jack Johnson, Scott Leisten and Daniel Elfering were presented with the Distinguished Service Award.
Corsaw was recognized for her meritorious actions on March 6, 2019. Covelli said Corsaw was keeping watch over an inmate at a local hospital when the inmate asked to use the restroom.
The inmate then splashed a cold drink in Corsaw’s face and reached for her gun. During the struggle, Corsaw maintained her composure was able to take the inmate into custody, Covelli said.
Kuvales was recognized for his meritorious actions from October 2016 to January 2021 while serving as a task force officer for the U.S. Marshals Service.
Kuvales conducted many investigations leading to the arrest of over 150 violent felons, Covelli said.
Marturano and Tietz were recognized for their meritorious actions on November 30, 2020.
Both deputies were responded to a suicidal subject call in Ingleside. They located a woman clinging to railroad tracks as a train was approaching.
Marturano and Tietz pulled the woman off the tracks moments before the train would have struck her, Covelli said.
Johnson, Leisten and Elfering were recognized for their meritorious actions on August 9.
The three deputies were serving an eviction at a North Chicago apartment when the tenant, a 58-year-old man, told them he had explosives rigged to the door after refusing to leave.
The man indicated that if the deputies entered they would “be sorry.” He then racked rounds into a gun and shot into the wall, Covelli said.
The deputies maintained their composure and began crisis communications. They also evacuated the apartment building.
Many other officers and a SWAT team responded. Negotiators spent just over an hour communicating with the man when he surrendered.
13 employees — Corrections Officers Mark Gaines, Daniel Pennington, David Juarez, Garrett Parsell, Mathew Bellavia, Darin Chansky, Stiven Korkies, Nicholas Czaplicki, Jennifer Jordan, Sergeant Michael Kuvales and Deputies Kevin Gauer, Ryan Nirva and Ryan Eager — were presented with the Sheriff’s Lifesaving Award.
The Sheriff’s Commendation Award was presented to Corrections Officers Monique Mitchell, Zoran Vukic, Obadiah Weiss, Steven Upton, Robert Israel, Jason Hicks, Mark Gaines, Corrections Sergeant Timothy Specht, Sergeants Kevin Eckenstahler and Michael Bennett, Deputies Scott Musick and Timothy Fitch and Detective Jakub Klatka.
Eckenstahler, Bennett, Musick and Fitch received the award for the significant roles they played at the North Chicago eviction incident, Covelli said.
The Sheriff’s Commendation Certificate was presented to Corrections Officers Greg Peccatiello, Michael Morales, Mateusz Micek, Stiven Korkies, Andrew Ebert, Daniel Boguszewski, Nathan Tinsley, William Lee, Steven Upton, Eric Zamora, Angel Gonzalez, Deputy Kevin Tietz and Georgina Escalante.
The Sheriff’s Achievement Award was presented to Deputies Kevin Harris and Francis Foy.
The Military Ribbon was presented to Corrections Officer Daniel Hernandez, Jr. and Deputy Kevin Tietz.
The Longevity Ribbon was presented to Deputy Bart Fiore, Deputy Mark Vice and Christy Berkquist for 15 years of service.
Deputy Kevin Tietz, Deputy Francs Foy, Maria ‘Wilma’ Evaristo and Penny Peterson were also presented with the award for five years of service.
The Alliance Against Intoxicated Motorists Award was presented to Deputies Ari Briskman, Brandon Eng, Leo Juarez, Chase Skrypek and Michael Turkson.
Six deputies from the sheriff’s office’s three shifts were presented with “Deputy of the Month”.
Deputy Timothy Fitch of the day shift, Deputies Michael Nudi, Edward Donahoe and Jacob Peloquin of the afternoon shift and Deputies Ari Briskman and Michael McCarty of the midnight shift received the Deputy of the Month award.
The ceremony concluded with a tribute to Canine Diesel by Chaplain Tim Perry.
Diesel, badge number 2614, died of cancer on September 11 in the company of his handler, Deputy Craig Somerville.
Deputy Chief McKinney read a letter written by Somerville which highlighted the deep loyalty and bond between Diesel and Somerville.
The touching letter described the time when the pair first met to the last days of Diesel’s life.