CBP Air and Marine, Border Patrol Agents Receive Commissioner's Awards
Marfa, Texas - Three West Texas U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees were honored on Friday, March 26, with Commissioner's Awards. Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Jane Holl Lute joined Acting Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar presented the awards.
Supervisory Air Interdiction Agent Justin Edmiston with the Office of Air and Marine in Alpine received the Meritorious Service Award for Valor. Patrol Agent in Charge Michael Jackson, with the U.S. Border Patrol in Sierra Blanca, received the Ambassador Award and PAIC Roy Dan Cason, with the U.S. Border Patrol in Midland, received the Mission Integration Award.
Edmiston was cited for continuously risking his own life to save the lives and property of others. In February 2009, while performing routine patrol, he overheard radio traffic regarding an infant that had been struck by a vehicle at the Border Patrol housing facility in Presidio, Texas. SAIA Edmiston selflessly volunteered to transport the gravely wounded child and paramedics to the Big Bend Regional Medical Center.
On May 13, 2009, he rescued a stranded Border Patrol agent that was quickly being surrounded by an out-of control wildfire. With fire converging upon him on all sides, SAIA Edmiston landed on the side of a mountain, saved the Agent from harm, and then instructed fire rescue to expel fire retardant on the Agent's government vehicle to keep it from being destroyed in the blaze.
On June 11, 2009, SAIA Edmiston was awakened with a call for help from a research team in Big Bend National Park. The team had been on a rafting/camping expedition exploring the most remote areas of the Rio Grande River when one of the researchers had suffered a poisonous snake bite. Without hesitation, he risked his life for that of another when he landed, retrieved the victim, and transported him to safety.
PAIC Jackson was lauded for his participation in the Iraq Reconstruction Project. The CBP Iraq Reconstruction Project is funded by DOD with the goal of disrupting cross-border support to insurgents and terrorists, while also assisting the Iraqi government to improve and modernize their border-control operations. This award recognizes a group of 31 CBP personnel who volunteered and served as advisors in Iraq during 2009. All of these personnel will receive letters signed by the Commissioner commending them for their service and dedication in support of the mission, and for their courage in willingly putting themselves in harms way to assist the Iraqi people in their efforts to control their borders and enhance legitimate trade. They were responsible for coordinating the day-to-day security and support needs of the CBP personnel in Iraq. They represented the interests of Homeland Security and CBP at the U.S. Embassy with distinction.
PAIC Cason was honored for his work in trying to protect children from human traffickers. On December 23, 2008, the President signed into law the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, which was implemented on March 23, 2009. The Act contains provisions making significant changes to the manner in which unaccompanied alien children are processed when taken into custody by any Federal agency, including agencies within DHS. It had the potential to dramatically expand the number of children that CBP would detain and turn over to ICE and/or Health & Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement. The goal of the UAC provisions of the TVPRA is to better protect children from human traffickers. As a result of their efforts, CBP received $6.2 million in the FY 2009 War Supplemental Appropriation for the increased costs in the care and transport of UACs resulting from the TVPRA.
Both Deputy Secretary Lute and Acting Deputy Commissioner Aguilar expressed how proud they were not only of the recipients and their accomplishments, but of CBP's overall success this year.
This year, 60 awards recognized the achievements of 458 employee honorees. Joined by leaders of U.S. Border Patrol, Office of Air and Marine and Office of Field Operations, Deputy Secretary Lute and Acting Deputy Commissioner Aguilar presented each recipient with a medal while congratulating them for their dedication and thanking them for their commitment to CBP's mission.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection 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.