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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 22, 2011

Contact:
Vernon Smith (NOAA)
301-713-7248

Bronze Medal Awarded to
Five National Marine Sanctuary Staffers

The U.S. Department of Commerce has awarded Bronze Medals to four Office of National Marine Sanctuaries staff members for their superior public service in helping support NOAA's response to the 2009 tsunami in the U.S. territory of American Samoa.

NOAA has primary responsibility for providing tsunami warnings to the Nation, and a leadership role in tsunami observations and research. On Sept. 29, 2009, a powerful Pacific Ocean earthquake struck near American Samoa and spawned a tsunami that triggered towering waves that swept over the Samoan islands and left more than 160 dead.

Kevin Grant, Benjamin LaCour and Kelley Sage, (all from the ONMS Pacific Region), and Lisa Symons (ONMS headquarters), were members of a NOAA team that responded to the devastation in America Samoa, home to Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Also, William Douros, ONMS acting deputy director, was awarded a Bronze Medal for his work with a National Marine Fisheries Service team that proactively developed a regulation prohibiting the harvest of krill on the West Coast.

The Bronze Medal is one of the highest honors that can be granted by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. The award recipients will be honored at a ceremony on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, in the NOAA Auditorium in Silver Spring, Md.

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at www.noaa.gov or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usnoaagov.

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