First Lady Michelle Obama thanks DHS employees, Cites Work of Secret Service

Apr 14, 2009 1:06pm

ABC News’ Karen Travers reports: First Lady Michelle Obama dropped by the Department of Homeland Security today to thank its employees for their service as part of her tour of federal agencies in Washington. This was the eighth stop on the first lady’s thank you/listening tour. She has already visited HUD, Transportation, Education, Agriculture, Energy, Interior, State and the EPA. As she spoke, Mrs. Obama stood on stage in front a group of agency employees who were selected for their long tenure of government service, including two uniformed members of the Coast Guard and an officer from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). At each agency visit, the first lady makes a point to meet privately with a smaller group of staffers before she delivers remarks, and has asked to meet with the longest-serving staff members. When she visited the Department of Interior in February, some of the employees she spoke with had worked there for nearly 40 years. Aides say Mrs. Obama plans to get to every federal agency over the next few months. First Lady Notes "Excellence" of Secret Service This morning, the first lady cited the work done by the different agencies that come under the large umbrella of DHS, including the Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Coast Guard and Citizen, Immigration Services and FEMA. Mrs. Obama had a special mention for the Secret Service, which operates under DHS and is responsible for the presidential protective detail. “Every day I see how hard they work. Every day I see how much time they spend away from their own families to keep mine safe,” the first lady said. “And it has been an honor to get to know each and every one of them throughout the course of the campaign, and our day-to-day interactions. They represent the utmost of excellence, and we are so honored to have them serving alongside of us.” The first lady noted that because so much of the work protecting the nation takes place behind the scenes, if the nearly 200,000 DHS employees perform their jobs well, “nobody will know what you do.” As a result, she said the purpose of her visit was to make sure their services “don’t go unappreciated” and these public servants “don’t get lost behind the numbers and the magnitude of the mission.” Mrs. Obama worked the crowd following her remarks, shaking hands and taking pictures with DHS employees while U2′s “Beautiful Day” played. — Karen Travers

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