This year’s hurricane season has tested our nation. It has tested the endurance of our first responders. It has tested the capacity of government at all levels to respond. It has tested the faith of survivors who have lost everything.
But as I have traveled to Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and Puerto Rico, I have been amazed and humbled by the strength of our nation and the compassion of our people. Everywhere I go, I have seen neighbors helping neighbors, first responders saving lives, and federal, state, and local officials working together to rebuild communities.
In these times that we are tested, we have the chance to demonstrate the best of our humanity. I want to personally thank those members of our federal family who have deployed to the front lines of these disasters to help our fellow Americans. Whether you have helped clear debris from roadways, helped establish order in a shelter, or helped a survivor navigate our federal assistance programs, you have made a remarkable difference. You have sacrificed your own comfort and routine to serve those in desperate need, and I commend you.
I would also like to thank those who continue to carry out the day-to-day missions that keep our country strong. When a teammate deploys to the frontlines of a disaster, their usual work doesn’t go with them—but it still needs to be done. Taking on these additional responsibilities, and allowing your colleagues the freedom to deploy, demonstrates the unity of effort we strive for every day.
Our nation faces a long and difficult road to recovery, and hurricane season is not over yet. We will continue to be tested, but we will continue to overcome. Thank you all who have served for your selflessness and your sacrifice; I am very proud to serve with you.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security
With honor and integrity, we will safeguard the American people, our homeland, and our values.