First responders falling on hard times in northern Virginia are getting a big boost, thanks to the leadership of a TSA IT specialist.
When Ed Williams is off-duty, he’s busy helping emergency responders and their families in need in his community, where for the last 12 years he has served as the president and CEO of the Loudoun First Responders Foundation.
For his extensive and successful community work, Williams earned the highly distinguished Public Service Award during the 2021 Honorary Awards Ceremony this month.
Williams is a 19-year TSA veteran and is currently a supervisor in IT.
“It is very humbling to have my personal endeavors be recognized by TSA,” said Williams. “It is an honor to receive the TSA Public Service Award and be placed in such distinguished ranks as past recipients, all of whom have made important contributions outside of work.”
As the head of the community foundation, Williams plays a direct role in financially supporting active Loudoun County first responders struggling due to illness, injury and conditions in the line of duty. Under his leadership, the foundation has provided over $320,000 in direct support and scholarships since 2015.
“First responders are the most deserving people in our country, as they without hesitation put other families first ALWAYS,” Williams proclaimed. “Our foundation fills the gap of immediate need. We can provide real support within 24 hours of receiving an application [for assistance]. To provide support of $320,000, we first have to have those funds available. Loudoun County businesses, both large and small, as well as private donations make it so we can have the financial resources to support first responder needs.”
Williams’ efforts are so successful that corporate and town leaders from neighboring Prince William County asked him to guide them in creating a similar foundation in their community.
“The Loudoun First Responders Foundation has become a model for what can be done within a county to support local heroes in their time of need,” said Williams. “Over several months, I met with key leaders in Prince William County to help them understand what was involved in setting up a 501(c)(3). I met with attorneys and interviewed several potential candidates to fill the officer roles for what would be their new board of directors. I continue to provide advice as their new foundation gains traction.”
Williams attributes his motivation to help others to his parents who raised him to always give back and credits his success to networking and relationships.
“I find it very rewarding to help first responders who often run toward what most of us would run away from,” he noted. “Creating networks fosters a trade of ideas to sustain long-term relationships and mutual trust. I found that having a relationship with someone gives them a context of who you are and, in most cases, provides them a reason to want to help you.”
For his dedication to service in his community, Williams was selected as a 2021 Loudoun 100 honoree. The Loudoun 100 recognizes the positive impact of the county’s designated top 100 people for their goodwill, charity and generosity to better the community and enrich local lives.
“Volunteers strengthen communities,” emphasized Williams. “When we volunteer, we are not only filling a need, but we are bringing awareness to problems others may be overlooking and even teaching our children the importance of giving back. Beyond helping first responders in Loudoun County, I have gained real friendships throughout my years of service and hope I have passed along the value of a giving spirit to my son.”
By Don Wagner, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs