Indianapolis - Hundreds of U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees gathered last Friday, in Washington D.C., to recognize and honor the hard work, dedication and achievements of CBP personnel during 2009. Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Jane Lute joined Acting Deputy Commissioner David V. Aguilar to officiate the CBP Annual Awards Ceremony at CBP Headquarters in the Ronald Reagan Building Amphitheater. The Top Humanitarian Award went to Indianapolis CBP Officer Leely Evans, for selflessly donating a kidney to save the life of a fellow officer's wife.
A chance meeting in 2002 during a security detail to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City resulted in Indianapolis CBP Officer Leely Evans meeting and becoming friends with Anne Melican, the wife of New York CBP Officer Mike Melican. During a 2007 visit to the Evans home in Indiana, it was learned that that Anne Melican's health was in decline as she was suffering from kidney failure and was awaiting a donor. Officer Evans decided to undergo testing to see if she was a suitable candidate to be a donor.
In April of 2009, Evans and Melican underwent surgery together and a kidney was removed from Evans and transplanted into Melican. The surgery was a success and both have since recovered. Officer Evans is back at work in Indianapolis and doing well. Mike Melican has been a CBPO in New York for his entire career and is near retirement. Evans said she gave one of her kidneys so that husband and wife could spend those precious retirement years together.
"Officer Evans portrays the qualities of an officer that makes the agency proud," said David Murphy, CBP director of Field Operations in Chicago. "Her selfless act shows the ultimate sacrifice of humanitarianism and is another shining example of our professional and dedicated CBP family."
DHS Deputy Secretary Lute and CBP Acting Deputy Commissioner Aguilar expressed pride in all of the accomplishments of the officers and of the overall success of CBP last year.
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.