California has a wide variety of medals awarded for service to the state.
Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor (Special Service) – State Employees – For an act of heroism by a state employee extending above and beyond the normal call of duty or service performed at personal risk to his or her safety to save human life or state property.
Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor (Special Act) – State Employees – For an extraordinary act of heroism by a state employee extending far above and beyond the normal call of duty or service, performed at great risk to his or her own life in an effort to save human life.
Public Safety Medal of Valor – A public safety officer (firefighter, ocean lifeguard, law enforcement officer, including a corrections or court officer or a civil defense officer, or an emergency services officer) – For extraordinary valor above and beyond the call of duty. [Gov Code 3401]
California Order of California (CAOC) – Employees of the California Military Department, civilians, or members of other military services – For those who distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the State or the United States in a position of great responsibility. [Military and Veterans Code sections 640-649]
California Medal of Merit – Employees of the California Military Department, civilians, or members of other military services – For exceptionally meritorious service to the State or the United States, or for a distinct service in furthering the interests of and in promoting the security and welfare of the State and the California National Guard. [Military and Veterans Code sections 640-649]
California Commendation Medal – Employees of the California Military Department, civilians, or members of other military services – For serving in any capacity by meritorious service or achievement to the State or the United States (accomplished with distinction, but less than what is required for the Medal of Merit). Performance of duties normal to the position does not warrant award of the Commendation Medal. [Military and Veterans Code sections 640-649]
California State Military Reserve Military History Medal – Members of the California Military Department or civilians – awarded to those who have made a significant contribution to the preservation and safekeeping of the military history and historical programs of the state in support of the CA Center for Military History, the California Military Museum, or any of its satellite facilities. [Military and Veterans Code sections 640-649]
California State Library Gold Medal for Excellence in the Humanities and Science – to an individual or organization – For publication of a work that has enriched the collection of the California State Library and enriched the state by significantly contributing to the intellectual, cultural, and scientific knowledge of the people of the state. [Education Code 19326]
Gary Snyder (Poet; 2001)
Maxine Hong Kingston (Author; 2002)
City Lights Book Store (Bookstore; 2003)
Governor’s Awards – California state employees (individually or as groups) – Presented to employees who distinguished themselves by outstanding service to the state during the preceding year. Employees shall be nominated for the award by the directors of the various state departments and agencies and the Governor shall select from the persons so nominated the persons to whom he or she shall make the award. The award shall consist of a suitable medal or trophy. [Government Code 19995.5 – 19995.7]
California Hall of Fame Medal “Spirit of California” – to Inductees of the California Hall of Fame – Not specifically authorized by statute, this medal is presented to each inductee at the induction ceremony as a symbol of their installation into the California Hall of Fame.
The California Hall of Fame (2006-present) celebrates the Golden State’s legends and trailblazers whose achievements have made history and changed the state, the nation and the world. To date, 138 Californians have been selected by three California gubernatorial administrations from 2006 to 2021.
California Disability Hall of Fame – Californians (disabled or not) whose have demonstrated superior cooperation and contributions to the employment of the handicapped – The Director of the Department of Rehabilitation may present awards to those employers, architects, clients, ex-clients, disabled Californians nominated or selected for the Hall of Fame, and other persons whose superior cooperation and contributions to the employment of the handicapped deserve special recognition. It does not appear that this is a currently-issued award.
[Welfare and Institutions Code 19000-19020]
The board of supervisors of any county may prepare, procure and present commemorative medals, resolutions, plaques, or other memorials honoring persons who have performed unique or particularly noteworthy public service or commemorating acts, accomplishments, events, or anniversaries of public significance and importance. Any such award presented under the authority of this section shall be of nominal value and cost. [Government Code 26206]
Riverside County Medal of Valor – Any County resident, or public employee of the county or subdivisions – The medal shall be awarded to an individual who distinguishes herself or himself by valorous conduct at the risk of life.