For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
WASHINGTON— Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, joined by Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and Department of Homeland Security component leadership, today presented the DHS Secretary’s Award to 329 DHS employees from across the country for their extraordinary service and outstanding contributions to the Department and the Nation. Secretary Johnson resumed these awards last year to appropriately recognize the achievements and selfless service of DHS personnel who preserve our freedoms and protect the homeland with integrity, vigilance, and respect.
“Far too often, the outstanding work of our Department’s employees is overlooked because a flight went off without a hitch, an event ran smoothly, or a crisis was averted. Today, we take the time to recognize the people on the front lines and behind the scenes who uphold the security of our homeland. From Carol Richel from TSA in New Orleans who diverted passengers from a machete-wielding attacker, to Evan Staph from the U.S. Coast Guard in Cape Cod who saved four people from a sinking ship, to the Visa Security Program Team who make our visa programs run smoother, our employees are truly our greatest assets,” said Secretary Johnson. “The Secretary’s Awards are an opportunity for us to recognize just a few of the men and women who embody the service of the Department of Homeland Security. I congratulate all of the award recipients, and thank them for their continued dedication to keeping our communities safe and secure.”
During the ceremony, Secretary Johnson and Deputy Secretary Mayorkas honored employees for their contributions supporting law enforcement and protection activities including the 70th United Nations General Assembly and the historic visit of Pope Francis to the United States, promoting an equal and diverse work environment, and helping the Department eliminate waste and combat fraud. During the ceremony, Secretary Johnson also recognized two of the Department’s canines for their response during a security incident at the White House Complex last year.
The event was highlighted with musical performances by the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Band, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Pipe and Drums, Domestic Nuclear Detection Office employee Elston Steele, and Office of Intelligence and Analysis employee Tammy Padilla.
For a list of all awardees, please click here.
The award categories included:
Exceptional Service Gold Medal: Secretary Johnson awarded one individual and one team with the Exceptional Service Gold Medal, the highest award presented during the ceremony.
Secretary’s Unity of Effort Award: Secretary Johnson awarded five teams with the inaugural Secretary’s Unity of Effort award.
Meritorious Service Medal: Secretary Johnson awarded six individuals and ten teams with the Meritorious Service Medal.
Award for Excellence: Secretary Johnson awarded five individuals and nine teams with the Secretary’s Award for Excellence.
Award for Valor: Secretary Johnson awarded two individuals and four teams with the Secretary’s Award for Valor.
Award for Exemplary Service: Secretary Johnson awarded eleven individuals with the Secretary’s Award for Exemplary Service.
Award for Diversity Management: Secretary Johnson awarded one individual and one team with the Secretary’s Award for Diversity Management.
Award for Volunteer Service: Secretary Johnson awarded two individuals with the Secretary’s Award for Volunteer Service.
Photos of this event will be available here.