In a ceremony today at FBI Headquarters, Director Robert S. Mueller, III, presented Mrs. Patsy Spier with the Strength of the Human Spirit Award. This award was uniquely created by the Office for Victim Assistance (OVA) for Mrs. Spier in recognition of her remarkable resilience in the aftermath of tragedy and in gratitude for her inspirational and unrelenting support for the FBI’s investigative efforts. In addition to the strong partnership that has existed between Mrs. Spier and the FBI since 2002, Mrs. Spier also assisted the OVA in the development of a training DVD for special agents on making effective connections with victims.
“Today the FBI honors Patsy Spier with the ‘Strength of the Human Spirit Award,’ recognizing her amazing courage, motivation and tireless efforts to pursue justice, and the strength she has lent to other victims,” said Director Robert S. Mueller, III. “She has endured more than her share of suffering, struggle, and sacrifice to overcome a very traumatic event, while also supporting law enforcement to seek justice against those who murdered her husband and friends and leaving her to die during an ambush attack in Indonesia. She is a constant source of inspiration and exemplifies the definition of a true hero.”
Spier initially served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and after marrying husband Rick began a career with him as an elementary school teacher in international schools. The couple taught in Peru, Sudan, Brazil; and in Sumatra and Papua, Indonesia. In August 2002, while working in Papua, Spier survived an armed attack in which her husband and two of her teaching colleagues were killed, and she and ten others were wounded. Since that time, Spier has strived with diligent courage to seek justice for those who died and were wounded, working from the belief that holding responsible persons accountable will keep such a heinous act from being repeated. Her actions were vital in building cooperation between the FBI and the Indonesian government. This cooperation led to the capture, trial, and sentencing of many of those responsible for the ambush.
This June, Spier will receive her second Masters Degree in global studies with an emphasis in global health from the University of Denver in her home state of Colorado. She hopes to work in both Washington, D.C. and abroad, advocating issues pertaining to health, knowing that a healthy community is the fundamental key to community development.
The Office for Victim Assistance is responsible for directing and coordinating the FBI‘s response to all victims of federal crime to ensure that victims of crimes investigated by the FBI are afforded the opportunity to receive the services and notification as required by federal law. OVA is also responsible for directing and coordinating the FBI’s response to victims of terrorism, both domestic and international.
The award presented today is engraved on glass with the FBI seal at the top and reads: “Strength of the Human Spirit” Award presented to Patsy Spier by the Office for Victim Assistance for her ongoing partnership with the FBI and continued efforts towards justice for victims. April 23, 2007