On Friday, May 13, 2016, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson presented the 2016 Department of Homeland Security Secretary’s Award for Valor to 13 outstanding individuals, including four ICE employees, who displayed exceptional valor while serving the Department, or while off-duty acting only as a concerned citizen willing to help those in need.
Joined by Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas and DHS senior leadership, Secretary Johnson recognized four ICE employees among the 13 being honored for their courage and selfless actions that protected individuals from harm, saved another’s life, or safeguarded infrastructure in support of national security.
On January 10, 2016, while off duty, Assistant Field Office Director George Sullivan from Burlington, Mass., Technical Enforcement Officer William Adamson of Boston, Mass., and Special Agent Brendan Lundt from New Haven, Conn., were awakened by smoke in their hotel rooms and soon discovered a structure fire. After evacuating their loved ones, the three raced to help other guests. Mr. Sullivan climbed up three floors, using only the railings of the balconies, to get to the trapped people. Special Agent Lundt assisted from the ground while Officer Adamson assisted local fire fighters. Mr. Sullivan made the climb three times, rescuing four people. Remarkably, no one was injured during the entire incident.
Deputy Attaché Jeffrey Ellis, assigned to Homeland Security Investigations’ International Operations Division, and working out of Dakar, Senegal, was at a seaside restaurant in Grand Bassam, Cote d’Ivoire on March 13, 2016, on temporary duty assignment when he heard gun shots and helped his U.S. embassy colleagues and two other bystanders evade the assailants. Their escape was impeded by a seven-foot stone wall. Attaché Ellis helped everyone scale the wall and take shelter in a local residence. Attaché Ellis contacted the Marines at the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan and provided situational reports. Over the next two hours, Attaché Ellis monitored the perimeter security, and once rescued by security forces, provided an eyewitness account of the terrorist attack. The next day, he continued with his assignment in Abidjan to provide counterterrorism training.