Press Release - Tucson Sector PIO
December 2, 2004
CBP EMPLOYEES RECOGNIZED AT FIRST DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY AWARDS CEREMONY
Washington, D.C.-- U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Robert C. Bonner is pleased to announce that Secretary Tom Ridge recognized several CBP employees for their exceptional accomplishments at the first Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary's Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., today.
"There is no more important mission today than protecting our Homeland. Every man and woman engaged in that effort is a star," stated Commissioner Bonner. "But even in the galaxy of Customs and Border Protection there are a few who stand out and must be recognized."
CBP employees receiving awards include:
- Charles P. Bartoldus, Executive Director, National Targeting and Security, and founder of CBP's National Targeting Center (NTC), received the Silver Medal, the second highest award granted by the Secretary. Under Mr. Bartoldus, leadership NTC provides round-the-clock targeting and analytical research in support of CBP's anti-terrorism mission.
- Senior Border Patrol Agent James E. Bunner of the Spokane Sector in Washington, Senior Border Patrol Agent Raymond Overholt of the Tucson Sector in Arizona, Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Ramon Robert Chavez of the El Centro Sector in California, and Border Patrol Agent James P. Epling (posthumously honored) of the Yuma Sector in Arizona, received the Secretary,s Award for Valor. Agent,s Bunner and Overholt were recognized for their heroic search and rescue efforts in the Kyrgyz Republic. Agent Chavez was recognized for saving an illegal alien from drowning in the All-American Canal. Agent Epling lost his life in the Colorado River assisting a group of possible illegal aliens who were in distress.
- Mario H. Gonzalez, CBP Agriculture Technician, received the Secretary,s Award for Exemplary Service. Mr. Gonzalez made 188 reportable pest interceptions in Laredo, Texas.
- Patricia A. Jurgensen, CBP Supervisory Human Resource Specialist, received the Secretary,s Award for Volunteer Service. Ms. Jurgensen volunteers over twenty hours a week and travels over 5,000 miles a year responding to the needs of veterans and their families.
- The Container Security Initiative (CSI) Team and the Arizona Border Control Initiative (ABCI) Team were presented with the Secretary,s Award for Excellence. The CSI team consists of over 40 CBP employees whose efforts are preventing terrorist weapons from entering the United States through containerized shipping from foreign ports. The ABCI team planned, coordinated, and implemented a unified border management initiative that combines resources impairing the ability of smuggling organizations to operate in Arizona.
CBP is one of the operational agencies within the Department of Homeland Security responsible for managing, controlling and securing our borders. CBP's priority mission is detecting and preventing terrorist and terrorist weapons from entering the United States. As such, CBP must secure America's borders but not stifle the flow of legitimate trade and travel though our borders. CBP is also responsible for apprehending individuals attempting to enter the United States illegally; stemming the flow of illegal drugs and other contraband; protecting our agricultural and economic interests from harmful pests and diseases; protecting American businesses from theft of their intellectual property rights; regulating and facilitating international trade; collecting import duties; and enforcing U.S. trade laws.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control, and protection of our Nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.