U.S. Attorney’s Office Staff Receives DOJ Award for Post-Hurricanes Leadership and Service

Gretchen C. F. Shappert, United States Attorney for the USVI (File photo)
Gretchen C. F. Shappert, United States Attorney for the USVI (File photo)

U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert announced that a nine-member administrative team in the Virgin Islands U.S. Attorney’s Office (VI-USAO) has been recognized for its extraordinary service following hurricanes Irma and Maria.

In September of 2017, the VI-USAO became the only USAO to encounter two Category 5 hurricanes in less than two weeks. Staff members were without power and running water – many for over 100 days. A core team worked tirelessly to ensure that VI-USAO offices on both St. Thomas and St. Croix could resume operations and continue the work of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).

The District Court opened a few weeks after the storms, thereby requiring the USAO to resume operations under hazardous conditions. U.S. Attorney Shappert said, “Alphonso Andrews, Meredith Edwards, Melissa Flottman, Antoinette M. James-Alleyne, James Latham, Daniel Leinenbach, Ingrid Richardson, Sophia Starr, Sigrid Tejo-Sprotte and Keima Willett worked tirelessly as an ad hoc administrative team to aid the VI-USAO in recovery efforts.

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They worked for several months in the office and in their homes, including during periods when internet service was non-existent, to ensure that the USAO was operational. Because of their dedication, federal prosecutors and staff were able to serve the needs of this community after the storms.”
The DOJ Director’s Award for Superior Performance by an Administrative Team will be presented to the VI-USAO staff during an awards ceremony at the Department of Justice in Washington D.C., hosted by DOJ leadership, later this year.

“The Virgin Islands U.S. Attorney’s Office is one of the smallest of the 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the nation, but it is also one of the most dynamic and dedicated federal offices anywhere,” Shappert said. “We punch above our weight. And that’s what it means to be ‘VI Proud and VI Strong.’”

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