Welcome Remarks at the Archivist's Awards Ceremony
Welcome to the Archivist’s Awards Ceremony! And Happy Public Service Recognition Week to everyone here in person and across the National Archives!
Since 1985, the first week of May has been set aside to honor the men and women who serve our nation as Federal, state, county, and local government employees. I’d like to take this opportunity right now to thank all of you for your passion and dedication to serving NARA’s mission and the American people.
Because the good work of this agency takes place in all our facilities across the nation, we sent NARA executives to Valmeyer, Lee’s Summit, Denver, San Francisco, Fort Worth, Seattle, as well as the Carter and Nixon Presidential Libraries and the Ford Presidential Museum so they can congratulate Archivist’s Award winners in person. I wish I could be there as well, and fortunately the technology allows us to go live to these facilities and witness the staff receiving their awards.
This year the ceremony will give our customers a chance to sing your praises. Just about every day I receive comments praising your work, so we are going to incorporate some of those statements in today’s program. You will be hearing directly from the people who benefit from the work that you do. We will have videos interspersed throughout the ceremony.
The Archivist’s Awards Ceremony is important to me. This event honors the remarkable work that happens at this agency every single day. And it gives me the opportunity to highlight some of your amazing accomplishments.
You disposed of a LOT of temporary records; expedited requests for World War II military service verifications; declassified and released 113,000 pages of withheld records; transferred the electronic Presidential records of the Obama administration; planned and executed the Obama Presidential Library temporary site; cut the aging rate of records at Archives II by 45 percent; ensured the protection and repair of records after a fire incident; and closed the 10 oldest FOIA requests. And these are just a few examples! You will find out more about these incredible accomplishments as the ceremony continues.
This year, we have 66 nominations for awards. Today, we recognize our colleagues who gave their time and talents to make the National Archives a great place to work. We recognize colleagues who went above and beyond expectations and succeeded in ways not intended.
Before we get started on this year’s awards, I would like to take a moment to remember our six colleagues who passed away this past year: Kahlil Chism, Terryll. Lumpkin, Joseph Doucette, Jerry H. Griffith, Marilyn Redman, and Cathryn Westfeldt. Let’s acknowledge their lasting contributions to the work of the National Archives.
Congratulations to this year’s recipients. And I thank you each of you who protect, release, move, store, process, dispose, transfer, declassify, exhibit, digitize, and promote our records and support our staff in all that they do.
It takes every one of us working together as a team in pursuit of NARA’s mission to successfully provide access to Federal records. Especially in times of budgetary uncertainty, it is important to remind ourselves of the importance of our mission. Democracy depends upon the work that we do. Thank you for your service.