The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service announced 33 finalists for this year’s Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals.
The awards go to federal employees making “high-impact” contributions to the health, safety and welfare of the United States and countries around the world. The finalists are divided into eight separate categories, including “Federal Employee of the Year.”
The Partnership said the medal winners will be announced on Sept. 22 at a Washington, D.C., dinner.
On the other end of the age spectrum are the “Career Achievement Medal” finalists. Edwin Needler is the deputy solicitor general at the Justice Department, and his career spans 38 years.
“[He’s] argued more Supreme Court cases than anyone else that is practicing today and is really the conscience and the holder of the integrity of the SG’s office,” Stier said
Also on the “Career Achievement” list is Scott Gerald Borg, head of the Antarctic Sciences Section for the Division of Polar Programs at the National Science Foundation. Borg “directed a world-class research program in Antarctica that led to important scientific discoveries about climate change, the origins of the universe, previously unknown sea life and two new dinosaur species,” the Partnership wrote in its release.
Last year’s gala occurred on Oct. 3 — two days after the government shutdown began. When President Obama met with the winners and other finalists on Oct. 23 — a week after the shutdown was over — the tone of the meeting was unique.
“Post-shutdown, at a time when federal leaders are refocusing the workforce on the mission at hand, the President sent a powerful message about his support of our nation’s talented public servants,” Stier said at the time.
Even though the positive recognition will feel different for civil servants this time around, its importance cannot be understated.
“Our goal is to give these folks the recognition they more than deserve… We have a whole architecture in government. We have the IGs, we have congressional oversight and, frankly, a lot of investigative journalism finding problems in government. Next to no one is looking for the good things. And I’ve never seen an organization get better if all you do is find what’s bad,” Stier said on the Federal Drive this week.