Department of Corrections Presents Annual Awards (2024)

Vanessa Kennedy Receives Warden of the Year Award;

Heather Foster takes Probation and Parole Supervisor of the Year Honor;

Kristin Porter Named Director of the Year

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 8, 2023) – The Kentucky Department of Corrections (DOC) honored employees across the state at its annual awards ceremony on Sept. 6 in Lexington. In addition to the outstanding employees selected from each district and adult institution who received achievement awards, the following are some of the highlights of the awards ceremony.

DOC Commissioner Cookie Crews welcomed the crowd of over 400 attendees at the event hall. “We’re an agency of almost 4,000 employees, but we’re also a family. This means we’re here for each other; for the highs, lows, and everything in between. Today is a day of celebration for all of us.”

The 2023 Lucille Hurt Robuck Commitment to Corrections Award was presented to Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Human Resources Director Rodney Moore. Moore worked for over 20 years in the DOC, working his way up the security ranks and then transitioning to human resources in 2011. He served as the human resources director for DOC before being appointed to his current role. Despite his vastly expanded scope of duties, Moore has always maintained his love and devotion to Corrections and continues to work tirelessly to assist the agency.

Vanessa Kennedy, the warden at the Kentucky Correctional Institution for Women (KCIW), was named Warden of the Year. Kennedy was recognized for her outstanding leadership in the face of recurring COVID-19 outbreaks, staffing shortfalls, and several critical facility improvement projects.

District 4 Supervisor Heather Foster was the recipient of the Probation and Parole Supervisor of the Year award. Foster has distinguished herself as someone who thinks above the needs of her own district, often helping other districts within the Division of Probation and Parole. For the past three years, Foster and her staff have assisted two other districts in completing a large number of presentence investigation reports while they were dealing with substantial staff shortages.

Reentry Services Director Kristin Porter was named Director of the Year. Porter is committed to supporting the justice-involved population and improving the services offered to them during their incarceration and upon their release to the community. Under her leadership, Reentry has implemented new initiatives aimed at providing more workforce opportunities for those released from prison.

Rookie of the Year awards were presented to Dustin Dagdagan, correctional sergeant, Kentucky State Penitentiary (KSP); Austin Hacker, probation and parole officer, District 14; Kiara Jones-McCracken, correctional officer, KCIW; and Allison Drake, classification and treatment officer, Luther Luckett Correctional Complex.

The recipient of the Deputy Commissioner’s Award for Adult Institutions was Tim Baker, Emergency Management; the Division Award winner for Adult Institutions was Jerrod Milan, Kentucky Correctional Industries (KCI). The Deputy Commissioner’s Award for Community Services and Local Facilities was presented to Melvin Jones, Division of Reentry Services; the recipient of the Division Award for this area was Deanna Balentine, Division of Addiction Services. The Deputy Commissioner’s Award for Support Services was presented to Dean Foster, Division of Parole Board Support; the Division Award recipient for Support Services was Vanda Adamson, Division of Administrative Services.

The DOC Hero Awards were presented to the following: Carly Alverio and Ian Timpe, KSP; Daniel Lewis and Clayton Shelton, District 10; Jason Joseph, Policy and Accreditation Branch; Jeremy Stevens and William Sparks, Division of Corrections Training; Aaron LaFollette, Jason Warrier, Gregory Gatewood and Heather Foster, Probation and Parole District 4; Justin Cody, Blackburn Correctional Complex; Serena Thomas, Tina Ellis, James Davis, Matt Cobb, Robert Bruch and Brittany Jobes, Probation and Parole District 2; James Onkst, Kentucky State Reformatory; Shane Rickman, LSCC; Jason Turner and Jason Robards, Probation and Parole District 12; Sonja Mays, Division of Medical Services; Lacey Ruble, Offender Information Services; and Karen Powell, NTC.

The agency’s top awards, the Commissioner’s Awards, were presented to the following: Joshua Dillon, correctional officer, KSP; Jason Lotter, major, Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex; John Rector, lieutenant, Northpoint Training Center (NTC); Crystal Fulks, District 5 assistant supervisor; Kevin Lewis, Derek Inman, Jeremy Stevens and Heather Woosley, training instructors, Division of Corrections Training; Greg Moore, maintenance branch manager, Green River Correctional Complex; Matt Spencer, Roy Whitt, Branden Adkins, Hallie Griffith and Jonathan Sloas, recreation staff, Little Sandy Correctional Complex (LSCC); Iliannexis Williams-Hall, branch manager, Victim Services Branch; Connie Day, health services administrator, Southeast State Correctional Complex; Brandon Toles, systems analyst, Information Technology Branch; Beth Frazier, probation and parole officer, District 7; Will Knight, DOC crisis negotiation team administrator; and Kristopher Adams, branch manager, KCI.

To see the complete list of winners, access the awards booklet here.

Department of Corrections Presents Annual Awards (2024)

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