Good morning. It is an honor to be here.
The pursuit of justice is the bedrock of the FBI. It is our primary mission, our commitment to those we serve. I speak not merely of seeking justice against those who perpetrate crime: justice must also include those persons most affected by crime.
Those who have suffered loss at the hands of a criminal have the right to protection, the right to be heard, and the right to information about the investigations we undertake—in short, the right to feel they are part of the process.
All too often in the past, these rights have been denied or delayed. And what is routine or commonplace for those of us in law enforcement or in the judicial system can be utterly foreign and frightening to those impacted by crime.
We need to remember that the victims we serve may have been injured—physically, psychologically, or financially. They may be frightened, angry, or resentful. What has happened to them may be the most traumatic experience of their lives.
These individuals are our strongest witnesses and our best sources of evidence. We must keep that in mind in every case we investigate.
Our special agents and victim specialists serve as the bridge between the FBI and those we serve. The work they do is not easy, and it is not without emotional strain. But it is some of the most important work we do.
Victim specialists may serve as a shoulder to lean on or a source of information and guidance. They may be no more than a sympathetic voice on the other end of the phone. But together with the investigative work of our agents, we can bridge the gap between victimization and recovery and provide hope and healing to those affected by crime.
We in the FBI will stand with every victim, in every case, for as long as it takes to find justice. We must do everything we can for each and every individual. It is not only our responsibility to do so, it is our privilege.
Patsy Spier kindly agreed to tell her story in our training DVD. Unbeknownst to her, Patsy is also here to receive the “Strength of the Human Spirit” award. She has received other and perhaps finer honors, but none are as gratefully offered as the one we present her today.
The strength of spirit Patsy demonstrated after the murders of her husband and friends, and her own injuries, was a constant source of inspiration to our special agents.
She motivated others to pursue justice. She has been steadfast in her support for the FBI’s investigative efforts. And when they needed it most, she lent her strength to other victims. I can think of no more worthy honoree.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that “Every step toward justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle—the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
Patsy, you have taken many steps toward justice on behalf of those who have suffered great loss. And you have endured more than your share of sacrifice, suffering, and struggle.
We are grateful for your collaboration, your compassion, and your commitment. On behalf of the FBI’s Office for Victim Assistance, we are honored to present you with the “Strength of the Human Spirit” award.
Patsy, please come forward. The inscription on the award says, ”Presented to Patsy Spier by the Office for Victim Assistance for her ongoing partnership with the FBI and continued efforts toward justice for victims.”
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