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President's Message


FBI Character Development Awards
President's Message - September 2014

The Former Agents of the FBI Foundation and the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation (CMOHF) partnered last week to present two Tennessee students with the first 2014 FBI Character Development Awards. As members know, our Foundation is the charitable arm of the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI (SFSAFBI). The awards -- to one male recipient and one female recipient -- honored exceptional young people who participated in the CMOHF Character Development Program (CDP).

The awards were presented in Knoxville, Tennessee, by Medal of Honor recipient and retired FBI Special Agent Thomas R. “Tommy” Norris (LT USN – RET) to Blake Simmons, of Nashville, and Kennedy Morgan, of Jefferson City, as part of the annual Medal of Honor Convention. Approximately 50 MOH recipients were in attendance. Each student received a cash award to further his or her post high school pursuits. Simmons represents Stratford STEM Magnet High School and was nominated by his teacher, retired FBI Agent Jon Stephens. Morgan represents Jefferson County High School and was nominated by her teacher, Misti Gray. In order to be considered, nominees participated in the Character Development Program. Award recipients best embodied the Medal of Honor’s core values of courage, integrity, commitment, sacrifice, citizenship, and patriotism, and they were selected based on their exceptional actions to represent these values.

The awards are an acknowledgement of the shared values of the military and law enforcement in support of our nation, as exemplified by Norris’ service in the U.S. Navy and in the FBI. Norris received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in 1972 to rescue two downed Air Force officers while serving as a SEAL Advisor in Vietnam. He later suffered life-threatening injuries in another operation and was medically retired. He was granted a waiver by Judge Webster to apply to be an FBI Agent, and, after meeting the same requirements as other Agents, he went on to have a very distinguished career in the FBI. Norris was awarded a lifetime membership in the Society in 2012.

As Society President, I was proud to represent the Foundation and the Society at this event. Former Trustee Ralph Perrigo, Knoxville Chapter Chair Grey Steed, and FBIAA representative Brian O’Hare joined me. I applaud the CDP’s efforts to teach the values of the Medal of Honor in America’s classrooms, and it is within the mission of our Foundation to further the education of our youth by supporting a worthy program like this. I can think of no better way to honor American heroes, like Tommy Norris and his fellow MOH recipients, than to have partnered with the CMOHF for the FBI Character Development Awards. 

Blake Simmons’ teacher, Jon Stephens, is a Society member who began teaching high school after his retirement in 2011. To view Blake’s and Jon’s reactions, check out this short YouTube video:

Warm Regards,

Ellen Glasser

National President

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