NEW YORK -- The words "let's roll," uttered by United Flight 93 passenger Todd Beamer on Sept. 11, have come to symbolize America's strength and resilience in the wake of the terrorist attacks against the nation.
Lisa Jefferson, the Verizon Airfone supervisor who spoke with Beamer during the ill-fated flight and shared his words with the world, is the recipient of Verizon's highest employee honor -- the Verizon Excellence Award. Verizon annually confers Excellence Awards to a select number of individual employees and groups in recognition of extraordinary contributions in serving customers, communities and the company.
"Lisa's outstanding performance under extraordinarily stressful circumstances serves as an inspiration to all our employees," said Verizon Chairman of the Board Charles Lee. "With calm reassurance, she provided comfort to Todd Beamer during the last moments of his life and, at the same time, gathered important information to assist law enforcement officials. She also faithfully delivered Mr. Beamer's final messages to his widow and two small children.
"None of these duties were easy nor routine," Lee said. "We honor Lisa with our highest award to publicly recognize her professionalism."
Jefferson, a customer service supervisor with Verizon Airfone, received a call from Beamer who was on the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 on Sept. 11. During that call, Beamer related details of the hijacking and spoke of the passengers' plan to try to overtake the terrorists. Beamer shared his thoughts about his family and asked Jefferson to pray with him. The last words Jefferson heard Beamer say were, "Let's roll." Shortly thereafter, the flight crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
Jefferson, an 18-year employee of Verizon Airfone in Oak Brook, Ill., was honored recently by Airfone President Bill Pallone in a ceremony at the company's world headquarters in Oak Brook. Airfone provides air-to-ground telephone communications on more than 60 percent of U.S.-based commercial passenger aircraft.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 132.1 million access line equivalents and 29.4 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 247,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.