Above and beyond: Leadworker given Medal of Valor


Royce Hiner

Royce Hiner of District 2 earned the Medal of Valor for his role in helping a motorist after a 2018 crash on Interstate 5.

District 2 photo

By Chris Woodward
District 2 public information officer

Royce Hiner, Leadworker for the District 2 Stormwater/Culvert Crew, was recently awarded the Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor.

The Medal of Valor Award is the highest honor the State of California can bestow upon its employees and is awarded to individuals who have performed an extraordinary act of heroism above and beyond the call of duty to save the life of another person or state property.

On July 25, 2018, Royce Hiner and co-worker Steven Hawthorne were traveling south on Interstate 5 toward Corning on an irrigation call. While en route, they came upon a van that was on fire. Hiner retrieved a fire extinguisher while Hawthorne called the incident into dispatch.

When Hiner got to the vehicle, the owner was running around frantically trying to put the fire out. Hiner advised the man to get away from the vehicle and worked to free a dog still in the vehicle. While trying to remove the dog from the vehicle, the owner tried multiple times to get back into the vehicle for possessions. Hiner told the man to stay out of the vehicle and restrained him several times to keep him from doing so.

As Hiner was pulling the man from the vehicle the last time, it burst into flames. The owner panicked, thinking his children were still in the van. Hiner, along with a female off-duty first responder, kept the man from getting near the vehicle. The three children were safe and accounted for in a different bystander's vehicle, along with the man's wife.

The man then went into a seizure. When deemed safe, Hiner and the first responder pulled the man further away from the burning vehicle. The vehicle fire then spread to nearby vegetation, threatening homes and prompting voluntary evacuations. Fire personnel then arrived and extinguished the flames.

Hiner was later treated for smoke inhalation at a nearby hospital.

Royce Hiner has been awarded the Silver Medal of Valor for his act of heroism extending above and beyond the normal call of duty and performed at personal risk to his safety to save human life or state property. His efforts are a true testament to his character, selflessness and dedication to his service here in District 2.

 Be on the lookout for the annual ceremony (a prerecorded celebration which will be shared by CalHR) in the upcoming months.