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For immediate release
January 31, 2019

Former Pennsylvania Governor and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, Thomas J. Ridge, to Receive the 2019 Alexander Hamilton Award

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New London, CT - Former Pennsylvania Governor and United States Secretary of Homeland Security, Thomas J. Ridge, has been selected as the 2019 recipient of the Alexander Hamilton Award, the most prestigious honor bestowed by the National Coast Guard Museum Association. The Hamilton Award is named in honor of Alexander Hamilton, who established the Revenue Cutter Service—a predecessor of the U.S. Coast Guard—in 1790. The honor, given annually since 2015, recognizes an individual who has contributed outstanding service in support of the future National Coast Guard Museum.

Following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Ridge became the first Director of the Office of Homeland Security and eventually in 2003, Ridge was appointed the first Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

During his tenure, Ridge worked to strengthen national borders, provide for intelligence analysis and infrastructure protection, improve the use of science and technology to counter weapons of mass destruction, and to create a comprehensive response and recovery division. Ridge served as Secretary of Homeland Security until February 1, 2005. 

Ridge was twice elected Governor of Pennsylvania, serving from 1995 to 2001. He kept his promise to make Pennsylvania "a leader among states and a competitor among nations." Governor Ridge's aggressive technology strategy helped fuel the state's advances in the priority areas of economic development, education, health and the environment.

Former Secretary Ridge has served as Co-Chair of the National Coast Guard Museum Association Secretaries’ Circle since its inception in 2014. The Secretaries’ Circle represents an unprecedented and bi-partisan collaboration that spans decades and administrations comprised of all of the former Secretaries of Transportation and Homeland Security, the cabinet departments which have overseen the Coast Guard. The group, currently comprised of 17 former secretaries and deputies has unified to support the building of a national museum honoring the Coast Guard. Each year, the Secretaries’ Circle hosts a gathering on Capitol Hill to provide an update to Washington, D.C. stakeholders on the project’s progress.

Secretary Ridge with last year’s Hamilton Award recipient Boysie Bollinger and ADM Robert J. Papp, Jr., USCG (Ret.)

Secretary Ridge with last year’s Hamilton Award recipient Boysie Bollinger and ADM Robert J. Papp, Jr., USCG (Ret.)

“Like Alexander Hamilton before him, when our Nation needed him most, Secretary Ridge had the vision to establish a new cabinet department to meet unforeseen demands,” said Admiral Robert J. Papp, Jr. USCG (Ret.), Vice Chair of National Coast Guard Museum Association Board of Directors and 24th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard. “Secretary Ridge’s leadership and support have been integral to our efforts to honor the courage and sacrifices of our servicemen and women with a museum that both celebrates their heroism and inspires generations to come.”

“I am proud of my service in the Army,” Secretary Ridge has said. “There are Army museums everywhere. There are no museums for the U.S. Coast Guard. That’s just wrong. We have to elevate the history and service of the United States Coast Guard.”

The award will be presented by Admiral James M. Loy, USCG (Ret.) on May 2, 2019 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. at the National Maritime Awards Dinner.

“Exemplifying the spirit reflected in Alexander Hamilton’s Letter of Instruction establishing the Revenue Cutter Service, Secretary Ridge has been a committed leader in the efforts to create the National Coast Guard Museum,” said Captain Wes Pulver USCG (Ret.), Museum Association President. “We are humbled by his support and feel honored to present him with this well-deserved award.” 

About the National Coast Guard Museum Association

The National Coast Guard Museum Association, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charitable organization with a mission to establish the future National Coast Guard Museum, which will educate, engage and inspire visitors by honoring the courage and skill of the men and women of the United States Coast Guard through a variety of artifacts, exhibits, interactive experiences, and educational programs designed to their accomplishments in the past, present and future.

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