The Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience is the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) first national resilience award for superior leadership and innovation by a non-governmental individual or organization who exemplifies the qualities and achievements of Rick Rescorla, emphasizing leadership in effective preparation, response, and recovery in the face of disasters.
Rescorla served as Vice President of Security for Morgan Stanley at their Headquarters in the World Trade Center. Following the 1993 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Rescorla regularly drilled his Morgan Stanley employees in disaster preparedness and response, especially evacuation. On 9/11, he personally led a massive evacuation of Morgan Stanley’s 2,700 employees, and all but six of Morgan Stanley’s workers in the South Tower survived. His commitment to preparedness ensured that the 2,700 Morgan Stanley employees who worked in the South Tower knew how to evacuate and where to go on 9/11.
On September 21, 2011, during a month of commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano honored the memory of Richard “Rick” Rescorla by presenting the DHS Distinguished Public Service Medal to Mr. Rescorla’s widow at a ceremony in New York City. Secretary Napolitano noted: “Since the 9/11 attacks, we have seen exceptional models of resilience all around us. By honoring Richard Rescorla with the Distinguished Public Service medal, we remember his heroism and commitment to the preparedness of the thousands of employees under his watch.” During her presentation, Secretary Napolitano announced that DHS would create a first-ever national award inspired by the actions and resilience of Rick Rescorla.