- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A survivor of a 2002 military-style ambush on contract teachers in the Indonesian province of

Papua was presented the “Strength of the Human Spirit Award” yesterday by FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

In a ceremony at FBI Headquarters, Mr. Mueller recognized Patsy Spier’s “remarkable resilience” in the aftermath of tragedy and expressed gratitude for her “inspirational and unrelenting support” for the FBI’s investigative efforts saying she assisted the bureau’s Office for Victim Assistance in the development of a training DVD for agents on making effective connections with victims.

Mrs. Spier’s husband and two of her colleagues were killed in the ambush.

Praising Mrs. Spier’s “amazing courage, motivation and tireless efforts to pursue justice,” Mr. Mueller said she “has endured more than her share of suffering, struggle and sacrifice to overcome a very traumatic event.”

Mrs. Spier served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and after marrying husband Rick, she began a career with him as an elementary school teacher in international schools. The couple taught in Peru, Sudan, Brazil, and Sumatra and Papua, Indonesia.

In August 2002, while working in Papua, Mrs. Spier survived an armed attack in which her husband and two other teachers were killed. She and 10 others were wounded.

Since then, Mr. Mueller said Mrs. Spier has “strived with diligent courage to seek justice for those who died and were wounded, working from the belief that holding responsible persons accountable will keep such a heinous act from being repeated.”

He said her actions were vital in building cooperation between the FBI and the Indonesian government, which led to the capture, trial and sentencing of many of those responsible for the ambush.

In June, Mrs. Spier will receive her second master’s degree in global studies with an emphasis in global health from the University of Denver. She hopes to work in both the District and abroad, advocating issues pertaining to health, knowing that a healthy community is the fundamental key to community development.

The Office for Victim Assistance is responsible for directing and coordinating the FBI’s response to all victims of federal crime, as well as domestic and international terrorism.

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