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Hundreds of DHS Employees Nationwide Honored at Annual Secretary’s Awards Ceremony

Release Date: November 8, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON –Today, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke hosted the 2017 Secretary’s Awards Ceremony to honor the work, sacrifice, and professional excellence of employees from components all across the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

"I believe, as Secretary Kelly believed, that empowering people to do their jobs—and acknowledging the work that they do—not only serves our workforce…it also serves our mission,” said Acting Secretary Duke to the recipients. “Today, we celebrate that spirit of excellence.  But more importantly, today, we say “thank you.”

Joined by Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Claire Grady, hundreds of employees, teams and their families and friends were recognized for their service extending above and beyond the call of duty.

"Our people are our greatest strength, and the Department cannot fulfill its many missions without talented and hardworking people like you,” said Acting Deputy Secretary Grady. “The Secretary’s Awards ceremony marks only one day out of a year of accomplishments.”

Awardees were joined by their senior leadership and colleagues from all DHS components at DAR Constitution Hall. Cynthia Nixon of U.S. Customs and Border Protection performed the national anthem during the presentation of the colors by a joint-DHS honor guard.

The Secretary’s Awards were first held in 2008 under former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff and sought to recognize the extraordinary achievements and selfless service of DHS personnel who preserve our freedoms and protect American with integrity, vigilance and respect. The ceremony has been held annually since 2014 to regularly unite DHS employees and celebrate their contributions to the Department each year. 

For a list of all 2017 awardees, please click here.

The award categories included:


2017 Secretary's Awards
2017 Secretary's Award Stage Photo (DHS Photo by Jetta Disco/Released)


A joint-DHS honor guard presents the colors at the 2017 Secretary’s Awards Ceremony before hundreds of award recipients, their colleagues and their families. (Official DHS Photo/Jetta Disco).

Last Updated: 04/13/2021
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