Written by Hakim Fobia, Agricultural Marketing Service Public Affairs Specialist
Around the world, USDA employees continue their commitment to public service as a testament to Abraham Lincoln’s nickname as the “People’s Department.” Yesterday Secretary Tom Vilsack hosted the 62nd Annual Secretary’s Honors Awards, celebrating employees who went above and beyond the call of duty in support of the Department’s mission.
“These ceremonies are important, because they are our way of thanking the tireless USDA employees who have dedicated their lives to public service,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “I am proud to be part of the USDA because of the incredible breadth and complexity of the impact our employees have on the nation. Each employee at our Department is dedicated to serving in this Department that touches everyone in every way every day.”
The ceremony began with a moment of silence to honor fallen USDA employees Kristine Marie Fairbanks, Thomas Marovich, Steven Uptegrove, Christopher Upton, Rodney Whiteman, and Daniel Snider, who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Awards were presented to employees from all over the country, rewarding them for exemplary services that ranged from conserving and restoring our nation’s natural resources to creating an interactive geospatial map displaying American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds and projects nationwide. Secretary Vilsack also thanked his employees for their devotion to volunteerism, as many dedicated countless hours to volunteer programs such as President Obama’s United We Serve Initiative and the USDA’s People’s Garden Initiative.
The USDA’s work is important to people all over the world, from the most rural to the largest bustling cities. “These awards are just the tip of the iceberg for the USDA,” Vilsack said. The future is bright for the USDA and next year we will recognize employees for things that will undoubtedly bring the Department to new heights.
You can watch a video of the ceremony here: mms://ocbmtcwmp.usda.gov/content/secy/0803a.wmv