Major Executive Speeches

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Photograph of Deputy Director John S. Pistole

John S. Pistole
Deputy Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation

Dedication of Baltimore Field Office in Honor of Special Agent Sam Hicks
Baltimore, Maryland

November 23, 2009

Good afternoon. It is an honor to be here to dedicate this building to Special Agent Sam Hicks. My thanks to all of you for joining us today. 

I want to extend a special welcome to Sam’s wife Brooke and their son Noah, and to Sam’s parents and his sister Emily. We are glad you are here to help us honor Sam and to celebrate the dedication of this building in his name.

I also want to welcome Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Rodriguez and all the individuals of the Pittsburgh Division. As many of you know, Sam served as an agent in Pittsburgh, and I am sure he would be gratified to know his friends and colleagues were here to take part in today’s ceremony.

I want to take a moment to thank the men and women of both the Baltimore Division and the Pittsburgh Division for their service. Your dedication, your hard work, and your integrity are critical to our success.  We simply could not do it without you.

This building will carry Sam’s name, but it will reflect the work you all do to keep the country safe from both crime and terrorism. And we are all grateful for your efforts.

As you know, Special Agent Sam Hicks died just over a year ago—on November 19th—in the line of duty.  And it is of small comfort, but comfort nonetheless, to know that he died doing what he loved—keeping his community and his country safe.

To Sam, the job was more than just a badge. It was more than just the daily duties of any given case.  Day by day, he was building a better world, a better future for his family, for his friends, and for the citizens he served.

Even as a young man, Sam knew what he wanted to do. He wanted to serve in law enforcement. He wanted to be an FBI agent. He was so focused on his dream of becoming an agent that he refused in college to get a tattoo, fearing that the Bureau would not accept a “tattooed trainee.”

Clearly, he did not foresee the same hurdle with the “soul patch” he wore so proudly on his chin.

Sam knew that the American people expect excellence from the FBI. And Sam was just that: excellent, in every way.

But one of his most endearing traits was his humility. To Sam, giving his best was just part of the job...the job of being a good agent, a good officer, a good husband and father, and a good friend.

He recognized the role he played in keeping us safe, and he lived out that role to the fullest. Indeed, we could not have asked for more, or for better.

Everyone who knew Sam knew that he loved to laugh—anywhere, anytime. He always had a smile on his face. He was happy to come to work, and he was even happier to head home for the day, whatever time it was. In May of this year, Sam’s name was added to the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Wall in Washington. And as his sister-in-law Angela said, “It would be beyond belief to Sam that his name is being added to this wall.”

We can only imagine what he would think today, seeing his name added to this wall, and seeing all of these people here to honor him.

He probably would just shake his head and smile.

Brooke and Noah, no matter how much we miss Sam, it is you and your family who continue to feel his loss most deeply. For us, Sam is an unforgettable part of the FBI. But to you, he is irreplaceable. We can only hope you know that you are, and always will be, part of the FBI family.

There is a story told at many new agent graduations—a story Sam likely heard himself, as he sat eagerly awaiting his badge and credentials.

At Director Mueller’s FBI confirmation hearing, a certain senator from the South said that several years ago, back when he was practicing law, he was trying an important case.

He said that one of our special agents had worked her heart out on the investigation. At the trial, she was cross-examined by the defense. The attorney said to her, “You call yourself a special agent. Who are all these agents? Are they all special agents?”

She replied, “Yes, they are.” The lawyer said, “Well, it’s not really so special, then, is it?” The agent didn’t hesitate for a second. She looked him right in the eye and said, “Sir, it is to me.”

Agents like Sam Hicks are special. There is indeed something special about an individual who would be the first to kick down the door of a known criminal. Not just once, but hundreds of times.

There is something special about an individual who would seek to put himself in harm’s way for a stranger, day after day, year after year.

There is something special about an individual who would work so very hard, not for money or recognition, but for the greater good.

In short, Sam was a model, a model of everything the badge should represent. And so today, we honor Sam for his strength and his integrity. We honor the ideals by which he lived his life. And we honor Sam’s family for the sacrifices they have made.

In dedicating this building, let us dedicate ourselves to Sam’s unfinished work.

May all who enter this building be reminded of that mission. May it remind us of a committed public servant and a courageous man. And may it stand as testament to the example of service over self, courage over complacency, and faith over fear.

Thank you, and God bless.

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