When Michael Cuccio joined FEMA as the Supply Chain Integration Branch Chief two and a half years ago, he realized there was room to evaluate the agency’s current procurement practices for both water and the meals they provide during disaster response. Prior to his arrival, his new team had already started exploring options for water delivery that didn’t include bottled water, but they did not commit to a new product.
Some people may one day look back on their career and wonder if they made a difference. Yolanda Jackson, a Federal Emergency Management Agency Region 10 Field Leadership Directorate Federal Coordinating Officer, won’t have that problem. It has been a personal mission, something engrained in her DNA, to ensure that all people across the country receive the resources and support they need.
At 5:30 p.m. on November 1, 2020, an alarm sounded at Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, Alaska. An Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon registered to fishing vessel Irony had been activated in Earnest Sound, 150 miles southeast of Sitka. “We had just finished dinner when the alarm went off,” said Orthman, a native of Chesterton, Indiana. “The thing that I remember the most is how bad the weather was initially when we departed. It was raining sideways. I thought, ‘okay, we’re doing this.’”
It wasn’t a typical rescue scenario. It was dark. 70 mph headwinds offshore reduced the speed at which Coast Guard Air Station Sitka’s MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew could reach the survivor. Zero visibility forced the team to navigate 265-miles around rugged terrain. There was no straight path to the 70-year-old man who was stranded in the water clinging to a piece of debris from his sunken boat.
AST2 Grant Roberts, a rescue swimmer with the Coast Guard Air Station Sitka’s MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew, swam up to a man clinging to a piece of debris from his sunken fishing vessel, the survivor said, “I can’t believe you guys showed up. I thought I was going to die out here.” Roberts and three of his crewmembers will receive the Department of Homeland Security Secretary’s award for Valor for their heroic actions in a daring Alaska rescue.
Navigating through 70 mph headwinds offshore and rough Alaskan terrain, Lt. Justin Neal piloted Coast Guard Air Station Sitka’s MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew to the location of an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon that was pinging in the Earnest Sound, about 150 miles southeast of Sitka. There was no straight path to the 70-year-old man who was stranded in the water clinging to a piece of debris from his sunken boat.
Stephen "Daniel" Southerland, a special agent with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, was wrapping up a day of conducting a planned surveillance operation as part of an ongoing document fraud investigation. The team decided to pack up for the evening. As they drove away, Southerland hung back behind to get gas in his government vehicle. By the time Southerland got on the road, his team was ahead of him and no longer within view. When he approached the main highway, something caught his eye on the other side of the street.
Wallace (Wally) West, a Transportation Security Officer at the Fort Smith Regional Airport, woke to the sound of gunshots outside of his apartment. Shaking off sleep, the off-duty Transportation Security Officer wondered if the sounds might have come from Fort Chaffee, an Army National Guard installation just a couple miles away.
Leading up to May’s Public Service Recognition Week, Secretary Mayorkas and Department leadership are paying special tribute to members of the workforce and their incredible contributions.