Remembering our past, securing our future

Wednesday, November 10, 2021
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On November 19, TSA will celebrate its 20th anniversary. To recognize this milestone, we asked TSA employees to share their memories from the past 20 years.

During my 19+ years with the Department of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), I have had the pleasure of sharing many positive experiences with my co-workers in TSA at various locations, which has inspired me to continue to serve our workforce. One experience that stands out was in November 2011, when I was fortunate enough to serve as Federal Security Director (FSD) for General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was always cognizant of the wonderful employees who we had in Wisconsin and knew that this team of officers and staff were something special.    

During that year, we had (and still have at MKE) an officer by the name of Atanda Asani

(nicknamed Tai). Originally from Nigeria and the oldest of 19 children, Tai was the nicest person in our workplace! Always smiling and cheerful, humble to a fault, and possessing a great work ethic; all co-workers admired him.

One day, he was notified of his father’s passing back in his home in Nigeria. Due to the costs associated with traveling to attend the funeral, he wasn’t going to be able to attend the service. As his co-workers found out about his situation, they quietly collected donations, unbeknownst to Tai, to assist him to travel to Nigeria to attend the funeral. When the collections were completed, the workforce had collected enough funds to purchase Tai a round-trip ticket from the U.S. to Lagos, Nigeria. The fact that this was a groundswell of support from among his peers made this experience extra special. It speaks to the character of this workforce and their generosity.

Atanda Asani photo

How did it affect me? I was humbled to be a member of this TSA workforce, as they taught us all a lesson about life’s priorities. 

Tai is now a member of the National Deployment Force and continues to serve as an example of professionalism and courtesy for all of us. 

Well done, Team Milwaukee, and thank you for creating a special TSA memory on TSA’s 20th Anniversary.

Thank you to Tai and FSD Lendvay for allowing me to share this memory.   

Louis Traverzo

Deputy Federal Security Director
O’Hare International Airport - ORD