Welcome to our unaccompanied tours (UT) blog, Foggy Bottom Rambles! We can share information, programs, and resources quickly with you and since blogs are a two way street, we (and the other readers) can hear from you. What's in a name you say? This blog reflects how we (back here in DC, Foggy Bottom area) provide information (rambles) to you. Find websites and information, upcoming webinars, programs and events. FLO does not endorse organizations or companies linked-to in this blog, the views they express, or the products/services they offer. Let us know what you think: contribute to the blog or email us at FLOAskUT@state.gov.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

"My family are the true heroes, I was just doing my job"...

All of us recognize the great contribution you and your families are making during the unaccompanied tour and the burdens and stresses this places on your children in particular.  To recognize the sacrifice that children make while their parent is serving a high-risk unaccompanied tour, our office distributes Medals and Certificates of Recognition to children age 0-21. 

Jason Banks recently returned from a one year assignment to Pakistan and ordered a Medal for his five year old son, Matthew.  Because Jason and his family are unable to attend the mid-July Washington D.C. award ceremony event, Jason thought of another creative way to honor his son:  he contacted his Mayor.  After speaking with Mayor Maher Maso of Frisco, Texas, Jason arranged for his son Matthew to be publically awarded his well-deserved medal.  Jason explained,  "I told my son it was for being so brave while I was gone and that the Secretary of State gave it to him.  I told the mayor that since we could not attend the ceremony in Washington, it would mean a lot to me, to have the Mayor present him with his award.  I personally emailed him and he responded in a couple hours saying he would love to do it and said that we should be at the city council meeting the following day."  Jason and his wife, Denise, were kind enough to share some adorable pictures of the ceremony with us to share on the blog.  We hope that this inspires UT families who have yet to request a medal for their children to do so! 

"I think the Mayor Maher Maso did a good thing...and wanted to show that the sacrifices made by the military and other federal government agencies are felt at the local level.  He went on to explain how proud he was about a Frisco resident for serving in such an austere environment and I told him that without the support of my family and a wife that was capable of “doing it all”, I never would have been able to mentally survive.  My family are the true heroes, I was just doing my job."

We hope the Medals and Certificates of Recognition will in some small way let UT children know their sacrifice is appreciated and reaffirm the proud tradition of the Foreign Service.  To request a medal for your child, please click here.  Please stay posted for details about the mid-July award ceremony at the Department.   

Thank you to Jason, Denise and Matthew Banks, Mayor Maher Maso and Kerri- UT Team's Medal specialist!

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