Nine federal employees and their teams were honored Thursday night at the twelfth
annual Samuel J.
Heyman Service to America Medals gala.
The Partnership for Public Service presented the Sammies Awards to "public
servants whose achievements have improved the lives of countless Americans and
others around the world," it said in a release.
"Smart, dedicated and driven public servants are making contributions that change
the world for the better, and the Service to America Medals are a powerful
reminder of the good that government does every day," Max Stier, president and CEO
of the Partnership for Public Service, said in the release.
This year, more than 300 nominations were submitted, and 31 federal employees were
selected as finalists.
Winners of the 2013 Service to America Medals. (Photo: Sam Kittner/Kittner.com)
Read on to learn more about the winners of the 2013 Sammies Awards.
Federal Employees of the Year
Julie Segre, Tara Palmore and Team
Senior Investigator (Segre) and Deputy Hospital Epidemiologist (Palmore)
National Institutes of Health
Stopped the spread of a
deadly hospital-acquired infection through the first-ever use of genome sequencing
to identify the source and trace the transmission of antibiotic-resistant
bacteria, creating a groundbreaking model for the health care industry.
Career Achievement Medal
Managing Director of Financial Markets and Community Investment
Government Accountability Office
For two decades, Brown served as a trusted expert for members of Congress on
financial regulatory matters, carefully examining and offering recommendations in
the aftermath of the 2008 economic crisis that helped improve the $700 billion
Troubled Asset Relief program, the Wall Street regulatory reform law and
initiatives to prevent housing foreclosures.
Citizen Services Medal
Fire Protection Engineer
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Madrzykowski conducted sophisticated research that led to innovative ways to fight
fires, ranging from improved ventilation and fire-suppression tactics to the
protective equipment worn by firefighters. His initiatives have been widely
adopted across the nation, saving lives and protecting property.
Homeland Security and Law Enforcement
John MacKinnon and the Operation Holitna
Group Supervisor for Homeland Security Investigations
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
MacKinnon and his team combined old-fashioned police work with creative
new forensic investigatory techniques to rescue more than 167 child pornography
victims and arrest 54 predators who preyed on them.
Science and Environment Medal
David Lavery and the Mars Science
Program Executive for Solar System Exploration
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Lavery shepherded the development and launch of NASA's Curiosity rover,
the robotic vehicle that is exploring the geology and climate of Mars and helping
assess the potential for a future human mission to the Red Planet.
National Security and International Affairs
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Jafari led a global
initiative to successfully eradicate polio in India, overseeing the delivery of 1
billion doses of vaccine to 172 million young children each year between 2008 and
2011 to stem the crippling and potentially fatal disease.
Management Excellence Medal
Kevin T. Geiss
Secretary for Energy
Department of the Air Force
safe use of alternative fuels to ensure energy independence for combat and support
missions around the globe and reduced U.S. Air Force fuel and energy consumption,
saving more than $1 billion in 2012 alone.
Call to Service Medal
for Youth Engagement, Bureau of Near East Affairs
Department of State
Rabens has helped build strong relationships with aspiring young leaders from
the Middle East and North Africa, organizing a conference that brought together
young people from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Israel and the Palestinian
Territories to share ideas and learn about American democracy.
Honorary Service to America Medal
Antonio J. Mendez
Central Intelligence Agency (Ret.)
Mendez is the real-life hero who orchestrated an elaborate clandestine
operation immortalized in the movie "Argo," to free six American diplomats trapped
in Iran in 1980. This incredible achievement was part of a long CIA career in
which he helped change the identity and appearance of thousands of U.S. spies
during the Cold War by creating disguises, fabricating documents and convincing