You are here

Do the Right Thing

myDHS - Kathleen Fox, FEMA Acting Assistant Administrator, National Preparedness Directorate
Podcast Series: 

Kathleen Fox, FEMA Acting Assistant Administrator, National Preparedness Directorate, talks about why her work sustains her.   After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Fox shares how she felt a “sense of urgency and incredible sense of duty to do the right thing for those that suffered so dearly.”


Please welcome to the stage, Acting Deputy Administrator, Protection and National Preparedness, Kathleen Fox, Federal Emergency Management Agency. Good morning, Madam Secretary, Madam Deputy Secretary, and distinguished guests. March 1st 2003 seems like just yesterday except when it doesn't which is the case when I look in the mirror every morning or realize that some of my most trusted colleagues were in high school at the time. Also, when I think about how much the Department, the community, and the programs I interact with everyday have matured. In the heady days after 9/11, there were so many ideas flowing about how to better protect secure and prepare this nation. And there was near certainty that we'd face another attack. With that fear came a sense of urgency in an incredible sense of duty to do the right thing, for those who had suffered so greatly on that day and those that followed. My experience with DHS started in the private sector working for a firm that had a contract with the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism which was founded in the aftermath of the bombings in Oklahoma City and was funded by DHS. We are hired to develop a network of lessons learned and best practices for emergency responders. I was humbled then as I am now to work with police officers, firefighters, search-and-rescue teams, public health officials, and of course, emergency managers. What was also humbling was sharing a tiny cubicle with a federal employee and another contractor whose desk faced mine directly NYPD blue style which at the time was a hit TV show when the Department got started. But then as it is now, the mission was preeminent despite the cramped quarters, crazy hours, ridiculous deadlines, the opportunity to really make a difference has sustained me. I had no idea back then that my clients would become my colleagues, and I'd being lucky enough to join the federal team. I'm proud of the work that we've done especially over this past storm season and don't want to miss a chance to say thank you to so many of you in the DHS family who answered the call to support the survivors of the 2017 storms. Your selfless dedication to your colleagues and fellow citizens was and continues to be inspiring. I'm proud and honored to be part of the DHS team. Thank you so much. [Applause]
Back to Top