I am grateful to be able to serve as the Chairman of the Former Special Agents of the FBI Foundation. I served as a Trustee in 2013 and was Vice Chairman of the Foundation in 2014.
The Foundation is the charitable arm of the Society. It is the goal of the Foundation to provide financial relief to Society members, their families, and others who are facing unexpected financial hardships. The Foundation also provides grants and awards to worthy causes, as well as college scholarships to our children and grandchildren.
FBI Agents have a long history and tradition of helping each other. It’s in our DNA. When you were transferred to a new city where you had no family — and many of you experienced this often — it was always your fellow Agents who became your family and were eager to help you get started. When a new baby arrived, it was always a fellow Agent (or his or her spouse) whom you would call to come over and watch the other kids. In our early years, many of us shared Thanksgiving dinners with other Agents.
During our careers, as our families grew, most of us moved from an apartment to a house or from a small house to something larger. It was always our fellow Agents who came over to help load and unload the rental truck. If you needed help on a “do it yourself” project, you could always find volunteers to help. I recall learning to pour concrete and lay sod while helping my fellow Agents set up their new homes.
When there was a hardship, and Bureau Agents were just as likely as anyone else to suffer their share, the generosity of fellow Agents was a given. I recall many years ago when Chicago Agent (South RA) Tom Murray was diagnosed with cancer, the entire staff of Chicago’s South RA (under the leadership of SRA John Johnson) came out to paint Tom’s house. Throughout my career in the Bureau, I can recall many benefits being held to provide assistance to a fellow Bureau Agent or support employee who had suffered a major medical or financial setback.
For some reason, Bureau Agents have always had the reputation of being “cheap,” but it just isn’t true. They were careful about what they spent their money on and yes, they were always looking for deals, but they were actually very generous toward others in need. Many years ago, if you got into an accident in a Bureau car and it was your fault, you had to pay for the damages yourself. Your fellow Agents would always help you by “passing the envelope” and everyone contributed. If you had unexpected losses caused by a fire or flood or any other calamity, your fellow Agents would “pass the envelope” for that, too. Agents would even “pass the envelope” for a fellow Agent who was suspended.
The Foundation today is an extension of the longstanding practice in the FBI of “passing the envelope” for those in need. We are proud of this tradition of helping each other and we hope and pray that you will continue to generously participate in it with us.