It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your Deputy Administrator over the past four years. It was with mixed emotions that I made the decision to leave my post here at FEMA and return home at the end of January to be with my family in Boston. The work that you do each and every day under the incredible leadership of Administrator Fugate makes a difference in the lives of people all across this country. I am proud to have worked beside such an outstanding and dedicated group of professionals.
Throughout my time with FEMA, I have had the opportunity to meet with many of you, and work with you to improve emergency management. Whether we met while participating in brown bag lunches, during a town hall meeting, standing in line at Starbucks, or when traveling to each Region, visiting Distribution Centers, Joint Field Offices and Disaster Recovery Centers, I have heard your ideas on ways to improve the Agency. I have continuously been impressed with your level of commitment to disaster survivors. You understand that to be an effective emergency management agency, we must keep the survivor at the forefront of everything we do and recognize that we are only one member of a larger emergency management team.
I am proud of the work that we have accomplished together. We have responded to major incidents throughout this nation, from major flooding in North Dakota, Tennessee, and Colorado, a tsunami in American Samoa, tornadoes throughout the South and Midwest, including Alabama, Joplin and Kansas, fires in the West, to hurricanes Irene and Sandy that impacted large areas of the East Coast. While traveling to many of these disasters, meeting with our teams working in the field, our state, local and tribal partners, and survivors, I saw what makes our Agency great—your determined work to support survivors and our partners in times of need. We took the opportunity to learn from each of these disasters—and brought those lessons to bear, improving our programs and policies.
I would like to give a special thank you to Administrator Fugate for his tireless leadership. His guidance and support over the years has been central to our success as an Agency. I would also like thank each one of you for allowing me to be part of this incredible team, and I will miss you as I head back to Boston to be with my family, including a grandchild who is on the way! I look forward to contributing to the emergency management fields in other ways, and to watching the great progress that FEMA will continue to make.
I will greatly miss working alongside each of you!