Today we celebrated Public Service Recognition Week with our annual 2017 Archivist’s Achievement Awards Program. 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. The Archivist’s Awards Ceremony provides the opportunity to thank all staff for their passion and dedication to serving the mission of the National Archives 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 could congratulate Archivist’s Award winners in person.
Just about every day I receive comments praising the work of NARA staff, so this year we gave our customers a chance to directly sing their praises. Throughout the ceremony, we featured videos of researchers and customers thanking our staff and sharing how they benefit from the work that we do.
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 our staff’s amazing accomplishments.
NARA staff 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!
This year, we had 66 nominations for awards. Today, we recognized our colleagues who gave their time and talents to make the National Archives a great place to work. We recognized colleagues who went above and beyond expectations and succeeded in ways not intended. View all of the award winners in the 2017 Archivist’s Achievement Awards Program.
I also took 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. We 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.