WASHINGTON – A man with strong Maine ties has been awarded the second-highest honor accorded by the Department of Homeland Security.
Paul T. Conway, 43, recently was selected by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff to receive one of the secretary’s Silver Medals in recognition of his “exceptional leadership and service distinguished by achievements of marked significance,” the department announced Monday.
Conway, who serves as chief of staff to federal coordinator Douglas O’Dell at the Office of Gulf Coast Rebuilding, was specifically recognized for his efforts on multiple projects related to the gulf region’s recovery in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Conway, a former Belfast resident and a 1987 University of Maine graduate, has a history of public service that includes appointments under Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.
O’Dell praised Conway’s selection for the award, which was presented by Chertoff.
“His service to the American taxpayer and commitment to public accountability throughout government and across the Gulf Coast is marked by many successes on behalf of the president, Secretary Chertoff and the people of the Gulf Coast,” O’Dell said in a prepared statement.
Conway’s family moved to Belfast when he was 13, in 1978. He went to Crosby Junior High in Belfast and then Belfast Area High School, where he served as senior class president. He then went to the University of Maine where he served as president of the Student Government Association and member of the Senior Skulls Honor Society.
“My education and experiences growing up in Belfast and as a student at the University of Maine provided a great base of understanding for my involvement in public service,” Conway said in a statement Monday. “Maine has a great tradition and culture of independence and rugged individualism – characteristics that are shared by our fellow citizens along the Gulf Coast seeking to rebuild their lives and communities. It is a privilege to work alongside one of the most dedicated civil service teams in America at DHS under the leadership of Secretary Michael Chertoff and General Douglas O’Dell.”
The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding has been engaged in facilitating and streamlining the recovery effort, providing federal support and resources to state and local leaders.