OAKLAND, Calif. -- FEMA Region 9 Administrator Nancy Ward, a California resident responsible for emergency response efforts throughout nine western states and Pacific territories, has received one of the Department of Homeland Security's highest awards for her work during the recent Southern California wildfires.
Ward was honored with the Secretary's Award for Excellence, which recognizes outstanding individual achievement or innovation by an employee engaged in work to advance the mission of the Department of Homeland Security.
During the wildfires, Ward provided hands-on leadership. She visited the burned areas, listening to the experiences and needs of those who lost homes. She toured a local assistance center, talking to the staff and observing the process. She held a press conference to provide up-to-date information.
Ward is one of three individual FEMA officials who received the Award for Excellence during the Secretary's Third Annual Awards ceremony in Washington D.C. The other two recipients are Acting Assistant Administrator Lisa A. Lewis, a leader in designing and establishing FEMA's new Grant Programs Directorate, and Michelle McQueeney, honored for her outstanding work as chief of staff of FEMA's Gulf Coast Recovery Office.
"These award winners exemplify the professionalism, dedication and high quality of performance among employees throughout FEMA," said FEMA Administrator David Paulison. "I am proud that their important contributions are being recognized at the highest level of the department with a Secretary's Award."
Ward has held several positions with FEMA, and currently oversees operations in Region IX, which includes Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and several South Pacific territories. She is former chief of the disaster assistance branch, and deputy state coordinating officer for the California Office of Emergency Services.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.