The creation of the Border Patrol Foundation (BPF) was inspired by the courage and commitment of Border Patrol Agents, and the sacrifice and loyalty of their families. Mike Conners, a homeland security executive in the private sector, was inspired by both his discussions with the Border Patrol Agents he met who risk their lives daily protecting our Nation’s borders, and Ron Colburn, then Senior Associate Chief of Operations at USBP Headquarters, Washington, DC.
His lifelong respect for their courage and dedication led him to make a deeply personal commitment to establish the BPF. Conners recruited various private sector professionals to serve on the initial Board of Directors. Among early Board Members were: Professor Shannon Brown, Attorney Bob Horn, non-profit executive Terry Modglin, businessman Terry Lanni, former Director of Presidential Personnel Bob Nash and former Deputy Chief Luis Barker. Conners raised corporate and personal contributions and signed the legal documents to establish the Border Patrol Foundation on July 23,2009. Tragically, Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas was killed that same evening while on duty defending our border near San Diego, CA.
The first formal meeting of the Board of Directors was called shortly thereafter. Conners was elected as the first President of the BPF, serving 2009-2012. The Foundation’s first direct financial support to a family of the fallen was sent to the Robert Rosas family. The Foundation next hired a professional national director, Pat Wilder (2009-2015) and held the first BPF Recognition Dinner in November of 2009. Deputy Chief Colburn joined the Board of Directors in November, 2009, serving as Treasurer and providing key leadership that helped grow the capabilities of the BPF. He was elected President in 2012, and continues his leadership of the organization today.
The Agents and their families are the heroes for whom the BPF exists. In addition to providing immediate financial support to the families of the fallen in the line of duty, the BPF has expanded its programs to provide financial assistance to those Agents who were wounded, injured or fallen ill while performing their Border Patrol duties, and also the special needs of the families of Agents are considered and supported. A personal contribution from the Lanni family, in memory of businessman and Board Member Terry Lanni, joined with Motorola to create a scholarship program for the children of fallen Border Patrol Agents. As of the end of calendar year 2016, the BPF has provided over $300,000 in financial assistance to Agents and their families throughout the United States.
The BPF hosts various memorial and fundraising events around our nation, including the BPF Annual Recognition Dinner, dedicated to the families of the fallen and provides an opportunity to recognize our national leaders and volunteers whose vision, determination and skills have recognized and valued our Agents. The BPF’s “Founder’s Medallion” has been bestowed on Secretaries of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, former Congressman Silvestre Reyes, Ralph Basham, former Commissioner of USCBP and Director of the Secret Service, former Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar, Governor Asa Hutchinson, former Under Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Robert Bonner, former Commissioner of CBP, former Administrator of DEA, and a former Federal Judge, among other leaders.
Shannon Staples now serves as the Executive Director (2015 to present) and Erica Aguilar (surviving spouse of Border Patrol Agent Luis Aguilar) serves as the Director of Family Services. We hope that you, too, will help us write the history of our organization by joining us, volunteering with one of our events, and contributing to the BPF.