The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 11, 2008
OES announces Peabody Memorial winner

It's easy to get caught up in the latest political intrigue or sound bite budget bickering and forget that many people selflessly serve the state in both paid and volunteer positions.

We want to celebrate those people, and to that end we share this press release from the Office of Emergency Services:

September 10, 2008


Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES) Law Enforcement Branch is pleased to announce Major Jan Ostrat of the California Wing and Civil Air Patrol as this year's recipient of the annual "Larry Peabody Memorial Award" for 2008.

The "Peabody" is an annual award presented by OES to the California volunteer search and rescue (SAR) individual or team that performs their SAR duties with professionalism, dedication, and an unswerving desire to successfully accomplish their noble mission. It is given in honor of Larry Peabody, a dedicated professional volunteer, who served OES for over 27 years, providing valuable search and rescue canine coordination 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Peabody's tireless commitment to California search and rescue so "that others may live," is revered by all who have performed the search and rescue duty.

In like spirit, this year's recipient, Jan Ostrat, a Major with the California Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, has been a professional volunteer, responding to missing or overdue aircraft missions as well as distress alert beacon activations, namely Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs), since 1980. For the past 28 years his unselfish efforts have been
instrumental in successful responses to many very difficult and complex missions. Jan participates in at least 25 missions per year, or about 700 calls for duty. Many lives have been saved as a direct result of his efforts. Jan often volunteers his own personal aircraft, a Cessna 206, to conduct search and rescue missions.

"It's my honor to congratulate Jan as this year's Larry Peabody Memorial Award recipient and extend my deepest gratitude for the selfless, live-saving work that he has performed over the years," said Henry Renteria, Director of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services. "The citizens of California depend on the hard work of both our OES personnel and the dedicated volunteers like Jan to provide the best public safety services in the nation," said Renteria.

Jan's vast expertise in conducting missing aircraft and ELT searches is known statewide and nationally. As a result, he is often called upon to assist in overcoming the most complex missions. Jan is recognized as a "Subject Matter Expert" in the aircraft and ELT search arena by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services - Law Enforcement Branch. As a result, he is not only called upon often to assist with
search missions but also to instruct, as a key instructor, within the branch's Search and Rescue Management Courses. Jan, as a volunteer instructor, has personally trained thousands of search management students how to properly respond to missing and overdue aircraft missions and distress alert beacon activations - to include the new personal locator beacons or PLB's.

When Jan is not volunteering his time to help search for persons in distress he is busy managing his metal fabricating company near his home in Fairfield. During the summer months, he also remains very busy flying wild land fire "Air Attack" or "Recon" for Cal Fire or USFS in his Cessna.

Jan's dedication and extraordinary excellence as a professional volunteer to help others in need is outstanding and he is a role model for others to follow. The personal sacrifices that Jan makes "So Others May Live" are above and beyond the call of duty.

For more information on the OES Peabody Award, please contact OES Law Enforcement Branch at (916) 845-8700.


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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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