Over 400 employees were recognized for their outstanding achievements during the 2019 TSA Honorary Awards Ceremony. Administrator David Pekoske and Acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell presented the awards in the Historic Lobby of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport where President George W. Bush signed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act on November 19, 2001.
One award was presented for the first time – the “Blogger Bob” Award, honoring well-known TSA blogger Curtis “Bob” Burns who unexpectedly passed away in October 2018. Starting his TSA career as a frontline officer, Bob used his gifts through social media to educate the public about TSA and the items passengers may and may not take on airplanes.
Steven Bird, stakeholder manager at Oregon’s Portland International Airport, is the inaugural “Blogger Bob” Award recipient for his efforts to engage with the community – the public as well as the airline, cargo, mass transit, and railroad industries.
The Burns family made the award presentation extra special by traveling to the nation’s capital for the ceremony. Bob’s wife, mother, daughters, brother and sister-in-law attended.
“I feel very honored,” said Bob’s wife, Jennifer. “I know Bob would love this. It’s an honor I’m here, and I feel excited [TSA] is appreciating what he did.”
Jennifer said she would never have imagined TSA would honor her husband like this and that he would have such an impact on an agency. “It was a privilege [for Bob] to be able to work [at TSA]. When September 11 happened, he really wanted to go back into the Army. So, this was his way to give back.”
“Bob loved TSA,” said Bob’s mother, Brenda Kurtz, who made her first trip to DC to participate in the award presentation. “Besides his family, that was his life. Calling him at night, thinking he was through working, he would say, ‘Mom, I’m still working; I’m working on a project. I’ve got to get it finished.’ He was dedicated, very dedicated.”
“I’m the proudest mother there is,” Kurtz added. “I had to hold back the tears, I was so proud.”
Bob’s oldest daughter, Hannah, also said she was proud when she learned TSA was presenting the new award in her dad’s memory. “I’m glad [TSA] recognized my dad. I knew he was well loved when he was alive, and I’m glad they’re not forgetting him.”
“I feel very blessed that everybody here really appreciated Bob,” said Jennifer. “It’s amazing to see how much he was loved by everybody.”