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Combined Federal Campaign Awards Ceremony

Thank you for that short introduction, Mike. And thanks to you, Dr. Mark Bergel for your inspiring and very powerful words. I very much appreciate you being here today and representing everybody who that we are -- who we are trying to help.

I love my job. Now, I always ask people, if you're going to enter into a job, you need to ask yourself three simple questions.

One, is the job that you're going to do important?

Two, do you have an opportunity to make a difference in getting that job done?

And three, and perhaps even more importantly, do you like and respect the people that you're going to work with?

Well, let's think about this for a second.

As Secretary Chuck Hagel reminded us yesterday at his farewell ceremony and as he has reminded me and every one of the senior leaders in this department everyday he has been the secretary of defense, the Department of Defense has one key, solemn and sacred responsibility, and that is ensuring the security of our great nation.

Now, to meet this responsibility, the men and women of this department of which you are a part and who you represent, be they in uniform, a government civil servant or a contractor, we share a simple, single mission, and that is to organize, train and equip a joint force that is ready for war, that is operated forward to preserve global peace.

So let's think about those three questions.

Is it an important job? You betcha.

Do you have an opportunity to make a difference? Absolutely.

And do you get to work with people you like and respect? And you represent the best of a department.

It demands a special type of person with special types of values who are willing to dedicate themselves to a life of service, to make great sacrifices and to give of themselves like few other Americans.

Now, as Mark said, this giving nature extends from deployments and distant lands to right here within our own borders.

Sometimes it's reflected in our responses to natural disasters. Other times, it's reflected by the willingness of our servicemen and -women and civilians to contribute to their communities. Other times, it's reflected to contributions and assistance and efforts such as Feds Feed Families.

And sometimes, like today, it's reflected by a willingness to give to those who are less fortunate and to organizations like Mark's who care for them.

And that is why we're here today, to celebrate the department's spirit of giving by recognizing the hard work that all of you did and the contributions of literally thousands of members of our department who made another successful combined federal campaign season.

Now, I think you all know, CFC is the largest and most successful workplace fund-raising campaign on the planet, and DOD is a very big reason why this is so.

Last year, DOD represented the single largest federal contributor in the nationwide CFC campaign, as it has every year since its inception. And when we do the final accounting this year, I have no doubt, and I fully expect that we will once again lead the pack.

One of the reasons why we're so successful starts right here in the National Capital Area. It alone, through your efforts, raised $10.5 million with 15 of 24 individual campaigns exceeding their goals.

Now, I know that this number represents really hard work. I therefore want to thank those of you here today who represent the entire department, people like Tony DeCristofaro. I was told – (off mic) yeah -- I got it -- he was the director of our whole volunteer campaign.

But all of you -- the campaign chairs, the vice chairs, the campaign managers, the loaned executives, the key workers -- loaned executives, that sounds so weird (Laughter.) -- but you are the ones who put the boots on the ground. You fought this campaign. You are the one -- why we are so successful in making this year's NCA, National Capital Area campaign the success that it was.

You embody the spirit of giving that Mark talked so eloquently about, and you represent the entire department and are the reason for our great success.

Now, of course, the department's spirit of giving extends far beyond the National Capital Area, and I would like to add a special welcome and thanks to the members of the CFC Overseas campaign:

Captain Jenniffer Gundayao from the Joint Staff -- Where are you? Are you here today? Thank you for joining us, Jenniffer. She's our liaison with our combatant commands.

Mr. Scott Jackson, president and CEO of Global Impact. Where are you, Scott? Thank you.

And Ms. Victoria, who's the executive director of CFC Overseas, and -- thank you very much, Victoria -- as well as all the other members of their team who are here today. They represent the same vibrant, enthusiastic CFC campaigns right here in the region at the combatant commands.

As a truly amazing commitment of their generosity, I'm thrilled to announce that they raised an additional $8.3 million from the military and civilians who serve throughout the combatant commands and overseas.

Of course, you are the ones who actually made the campaign run. You were the key workers. And while we proudly focus on you and rightly recognize your leadership, you represent literally thousands, thousands of departmental servicemen and -women and civilians and contractors who contributed to this very fine cause in a very concrete way.

They all, you and them, demonstrate the generosity of spirit and dedication to service that infuses our entire shared enterprise that we work in everyday, a spirit that continues strong, despite the budget uncertainty and the upheavals that have occurred over the last three years.

So I would like to reach out to all of those who found it in their hearts to contribute, to remember Dr. Bergel's eloquent words, which help to explain the enormous impact that this $18.8 million is going to have on the lives of our citizens, citizens who are less fortunate than we are around the corner, around the country and around the globe.

So on behalf of Secretary Chuck Hagel, I would like to extend my personal heartfelt thanks to each of you here in this audience and all of those who you represent and all of those who contributed for your work and your great contributions.

I'm going to be proud, very proud to shake each of your hands, since you represent the greatest organization in the world, in my view, the Department of Defense.

God bless you all.