An Albuquerque man who devotes his time to educating his community about cyber threats. A Jacksonville woman whose child protection group assists law enforcement with crimes against children investigations. An Arizona organization that is dedicated to meeting the needs of murder victims’ families. A man who established a volunteer organization in Delaware to serve at-risk youngsters.
Since 1990—through the Director’s Leadership Community Awards (DCLA)—the FBI has publicly recognized the achievements of individuals and organizations like these who have gone above and beyond the call to service by making extraordinary contributions to their communities in the areas of terrorism, cyber, drug, gang, or violence prevention and education. And this year is no exception: today, nearly 60 individuals and organizational representatives—all 2011 DLCA recipients—gathered for a ceremony in their honor at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Director Mueller, who presented a specially designed plaque to each recipient, called the honorees “catalysts for change” in their communities and said that each one shared “a willingness to lead....a commitment to improving your neighborhoods...and a desire to make this country safer for your fellow citizens.”
Each of our field offices is given the chance to present the award at the local level during the year, and the honorees are then recognized at the annual national ceremony the following spring. FBI Headquarters selects at least one winner as well. A snapshot of this year’s DCLA recipients shows the range of good work done across the nation:
■Anchorage: Covenant House Alaska offers services to homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth and has been an essential partner of the FBI on our Innocence Lost Task Force and human trafficking cases.
■Boston: Ted Woo is a member of BRIDGES (Building Respect in Diverse Groups to Enhance Sensitivity), a group of law enforcement and community leaders who work together on community concerns. Among other activities, Woo has coordinated several community events held in mosques and gurdwaras.
■Chicago: Brent King, whose daughter was kidnapped and murdered by a convicted sex offender, established a non-profit foundation dedicated to working with state legislatures to toughen restrictions on violent sexual predators.
■Jackson: Federal judge James Graves, Jr. is deeply committed to teaching, motivating, and inspiring Mississippi youth. He also mentors young people about the legal system.
■Kansas City: Marvin Szneler is the executive director of a Jewish organization that works to build relationships among various religious and community groups, government officials, law enforcement, educators, and the media.
■Miami: Essie Reed is the founder of Team of Life, Inc., an organization that serves at-risk children by providing meals, clothing, and transportation and encourages young people to help law enforcement reduce crime, drug abuse, and violence in their communities.
■Portland: Musse Olol, head of the Somali American Council of Oregon, assists Somali refugees by serving as an interpreter, facilitator, counselor, and co-sponsor and helps establish positive relationships between the Somali community and state and federal law enforcement.
■Tampa: Rose Ferlita established Bully Busters, a national anti-bullying program involving partnerships among young people, parents, local law enforcement, and community groups.
Congratulations to all the winners. It’s our hope that their selfless actions to enhance the lives of neighbors and protect communities will inspire others to offer their time and talents to their own communities.