WORCESTER, Mass. (WWLP) – Two employees of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department were among 26 correctional professionals honored for their exceptional performance and public service.

The 26th Annual Correctional Employee of the Year Awards were held at Mechanics Hall in Worcester on Tuesday.

There are three distinct awards:

  • Meritorious Recognition
  • Medal of Valor
  • Medal of Honor

Meritorious Recognition recognizes an employee who acted beyond the requirements of their position. The second highest honor, Medal of Valor, honors an employee who put themselves at risk of retaining injury to protect others. Persons receiving the Medal of Honor, the highest award, risked their lives to save another.

“The best work done by correctional professionals, whether behind the walls, or in the community, can often go overlooked. But it is the empathy, professionalism, and desire to make a difference in someone else’s life that helps elevate not only the community but also the profession,” Hampden County Sheriff and President of the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association Nicholas Cocchi said. “When a moment is taken to show appreciation for those efforts, it helps fuel the next day’s important work. So we are thankful to gather to say ‘thank you’ for going above and beyond, and being an example of what is right in the field of corrections and law enforcement.”

Officers Nicolas Husovsky and Ryan Kennedy (posthumously), two officers from the Hampden County Sheriff’s Office, received a Meritorious Recognition award.

In April 2022, Officers Ryan Kennedy and Nicholas Husovsky were driving on Route 9 in Williamsburg as part of a transportation mission from their county’s Ludlow facility to the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Office. While driving they saw a car off the road and crashed into a tree and found an unresponsive woman slouched over the center console with a purple hue to her skin.

The officers broke a window to gain access and pull the woman from the car. Unable to measure a pulse, Husovsky and Kennedy initiated CPR and sustained the woman for five minutes until fire officials deployed an AED. Together, these efforts restored the woman’s pulse.

The Selection Committee recognized Officer Husovsky and Officer Kennedy posthumously for their immediate action and life-saving measures in the service of a civilian. Kennedy’s parents accepted the award on behalf of their family.

A complete list of awardees can be found at this link.