Thank you very much Ben. Good afternoon and welcome. I’m delighted to have this opportunity to join you in celebrating John’s many accomplishments.
It is a testament to John that so many of you have joined us today, including many Department of Justice career staff, Department officials, distinguished guests, and John’s friends and family. I would especially like to welcome John’s wife Sharon, his daughter Kristen and her husband Travis Mason, his daughter Heather and her husband Scott Campbell, and John’s beloved grandchildren: Ryan, Jonathan, Lauren, and Katelyn.
Much has been said about John’s career and his many accomplishments, so the focus of my brief remarks will be of a more personal nature.
John and I go way back. I first met John in a time far, far away—during the Clinton Administration. I was a Special Assistant in the Division and he was Chief of the Environmental Enforcement Section. I knew early on that he would be a great role model. And, I was right.
John has distinguished himself again and again over the course of a storied career.
As you know, John has always served the public. He attended West Point and served in Vietnam, he has served as a General Counsel, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, D.C. Bar President, and Chairman of the Section on Environment, Energy and Resources in the American Bar Association—all with distinction.
John’s outstanding professional accomplishments only tell part of the story. Perhaps John’s most enduring achievement is the difference he has made in the lives of others as a leader, manager, mentor, and friend. It is impossible to convey the many ways in which he has touched and enriched people’s lives through his support and encouragement. If you look around this room, I think that you will get a sense of what I mean.
You will see many of those who John has brought along, and later at the reception, I’m sure that you will hear more about the ways in which he has touched their lives.
On a personal note, I will say, that I count myself among the many and the lucky ones who have benefited from John’s support. I will have many fond memories of working with John at the Department of Justice. We have shared some of the funniest moments, and he has been by my side during some of the most challenging times.
Through it all, he has given me his unwavering support. Through it all he has been a true friend. Because John has brought many along in the Division, his legacy of excellence will be enduring.
Although John will be physically gone, we will not be without our friend. John will be living in these halls for a long time to come because of the many ways in which he has: touched people, inspired people, and, yes, prodded people
I applaud the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) for reaching out to and recruiting John. ELI, will be welcoming not only one of the best lawyers in America, but a top quality individual with a vision and the energy to take ELI to a whole new level. And we should expect that John will be prodding us from his new position as President of ELI. I know that he will challenge us to continue to be the best that we can be, because that is who he is.
So in closing, I honor our colleague and friend.
We have the greatest respect for John not only because of his many accomplishments, but also because he is a great example of what a good father, husband and friend can be. John, you have been a great asset, teacher and guide to the Division, and have provided us with a great roadmap.
We will miss you, and will continue to honor your tradition of excellence.
As has already been said, but I will say again: John Cruden is “an outstanding public servant and I am proud to know him and to have served with him throughout the years.” Thank you for all that you have done for us and for your work in service of the American people.