Thank you, Ben. Good afternoon, everyone.
I am thrilled to join you today in honoring John Cruden.
John Cruden has dedicated his life to public service. His leadership, knowledge, and experience have been treasured assets of the Justice Department. We are sorry to see him go, and sorry to lose his valued guidance and his tireless work on the Department’s behalf.
As highlighted by the Attorney General, John’s illustrious career in the Environment Division has been marked by a series of impressive accomplishments. But for John, that is nothing new. He has distinguished himself, and made a tremendous contribution to the United States, in his military service, his military legal career, his involvement in and leadership of the D.C. Bar and the American Bar Association, and in his contributions to a broad range of community service work.
Although John came to the Department around the time I first left, when I came back here this year, I had already heard about him and was looking forward to working with him. And I wasn’t disappointed.
At the Department of Justice, John’s outstanding leadership has made him invaluable, not only to the Environment Division, but also to the Department as a whole. His commitment to and passion for Department priorities has been widely recognized and deeply appreciated at every level of the Department. The Department has called upon John to take on some of the most difficult and complex challenges – from civil investigations relating to the Deepwater Horizon spill and the enforcement action against BP and other responsible parties to special assignments from the Deputy Attorney General. And John brought the same tireless energy and matchless experience and ability to every challenge he faced.
He exemplifies what has made ENRD the most prestigious environmental legal group in the country. We know he’ll do the same as the president of the Environmental Law Institute when he gets there.
But more importantly, John exemplifies why individuals who dedicate their careers to the Department are so valuable and integral to our success. It is not only because of what they are able to accomplish personally while they are here. It is also because their professionalism and dedication sets an example for others. Individuals like John provide inspiration for all of us who endeavor to make a difference in the lives of the American people.
John, I want to express my personal gratitude for your service at the Department; truly, you will be missed.