Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Sen. Kaufman Recognizes Great Federal Employee Kenneth Concepcion and Remembers Previous Great Federal Employee Honoree Kenneth Edward Carfine

May 4, 2010

Mr. President, I rise once again to recognize the service of one of America's Great Federal Employees.

So many of our outstanding Federal employees spend their careers in our uniformed services, standing at the ready to guard our liberties and protect lives. One of these services has a unique mission that combines coastal defense, maritime search and rescue, and environmental protection.

I am speaking about the U.S. Coast Guard.

The 42,000 men and women who serve in the Coast Guard embody the highest principles of our nation. Their dual responsibilities in both civil and military matters require Guardians to demonstrate flexibility, patience, and resolve.

This year is 95th anniversary of the Coast Guard's creation from the old Revenue Cutter Service. That earlier service evolved from our nation's first maritime force in the infant years of our republic.

The Federal employee I have selected to honor this week served as Chief of U.S. Flag Deepdraft Vessels and Plan Review for the Coast Guard at the time of the September 11 attacks.

Kenneth Concepcion was based on Staten Island, within view of the twin towers of the World Trade Center. On that fateful morning, Kenneth was the first Coast Guard employee on the scene, arriving at New York's Pier Eleven just 20 minutes after the collapse of the second tower.

What he found there was disorder and masses of frightened people with no way to get home. Kenneth took charge and recruited NYPD officers and Transportation Department officials to help him organize the crowds into lines based on intended destination. He assumed control of all the vessels at the pier and prioritized the safe evacuation of first-responders who had been injured in the attacks.

Thanks to Kenneth's leadership and steady hand, the Coast Guard was able to evacuate 70,000 people from Lower Manhattan that morning to points across the Hudson River. In addition, he made sure that commercial ships continued to have safe passage in and out of New York Harbor, keeping some of America's vital ports open for business.

But Kenneth's heroism doesn't end there. Two months after the attacks, American Airlines flight 587 crashed tragically near JFK airport in Queens. Kenneth served as the on-scene coordinator for the maritime recovery of debris. Under his leadership, and as a result of his ability to get different agencies to work well together, all significant debris from the crash was recovered in less than 2 days.

Our Coast Guard members, like Kenneth Concepcion, stand ever at the ready to keep our maritime interests safe and to serve as our Nation's first line of search and rescue when disaster strikes. We rely on them to protect us, and I hope my colleagues will join me in thanking Kenneth and all members of the Coast Guard for their service to our Nation.

They are all truly great Federal employees.


Before I yield the floor, I want to note with sadness the passing of one of my previous honorees.

On October 19 of last year, I stood at this desk and spoke about an outstanding employee from the Department of the Treasury, Kenneth Edward Carfine.

He served in the Treasury Department since 1973 and worked over the last 37 years in banking, cash management, payments, check claims, and government-wide accounting.

Recently, he had served under the Fiscal Assistant Secretary as an adviser to senior department officials. Ken's intellect and diligence had been critical to the Treasury's economic recovery efforts. He helped shape how the Treasury deals with debt financing, cash management, trust fund administration, and a range of services.

One of his lasting legacies will be the ability to use a national debit card to receive Social Security benefits--a program he helped implement.

Kenneth Edward Carfine lost his battle to cancer last week. He is survived by his wife of over 40 years, Deborah, as well as by his two sons, Ken Jr. and Greg, their families, and his two granddaughters.

Ken worked at the Treasury Department for 37 years, and I know there literally must be hundreds of Treasury employees, past and present, who are grieving deeply today for this incredibly fine person and dedicated public servant. His passing is a great loss for all of them, the Department and for the nation he served so ably.

My thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at the Treasury Department, and I hope my Senate colleagues will join me in offering our condolences.

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