Sacramento, CA…The California Highway Patrol (CHP) has honored Daryl Junnila and Officer
Thelma Matthews with the Commissioner’s Medal of Distinction—an award recognizing heroic acts of
civilians and non-CHP public safety officers—after they saved the life of Anibal Rubina, an off-duty CHP
employee, in September 2013.
“The Commissioner’s Medal of Distinction honors the selfless acts of heroism carried out by community
members, law enforcement and emergency service providers,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “We
are proud to honor Daryl and Thelma with the Commissioner’s Medal of Distinction for administering
emergency first aid to save the life of our employee.”
Anibal Rubina, an employee at CHP’s telecommunications section, collapsed on September 8, 2013, from
an apparent heart attack while playing soccer at the California State University, Sacramento campus.
Without hesitation, his teammate Daryl Junnila, a Rocklin resident and senior information technology
analyst for the County of Sacramento, rushed to Rubina’s side and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Sacramento State Police Officer Thelma Matthews then used an automated external defibrillator to help
keep Rubina alive until paramedics arrived.
For their actions in saving Rubina’s life, Commissioner Farrow awarded Junnila and Matthews the
Commissioner’s Medal of Distinction, an award to honor the heroic acts of civilians and other emergency
services professionals. Junnila and Matthews also received Commissioner Commendations.
“Daryl never gave up,” said Rubina who credits his survival to the heroic acts of these two first
responders. “He kept pumping for five minutes, until the officer arrived with the defibrillator. I was in
the right place, surrounded by the right people that day. I was very lucky,” Rubina added.
Those attending the presentation at CHP Headquarters included Rubina’s coworkers, Sacramento State
Police Chief Mark Iwasa, and the emergency dispatchers and other officers who assisted that day.
“Now I have two birthdays,” said Rubina, who was briefly hospitalized after the incident and released in
time to celebrate his 48th birthday. Rubina’s friends now call him ‘the walking miracle.’
# # #