Protecting the health and safety of Americans bridged together the priorities of many of the winners and nominees this year for the Partnership for Public Service’s Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals — affectionately known as the Sammies.
Greg Robinson, the recently retired program manager for NASA’s James Webb Telescope, will be named Federal Employee of the Year at this evening’s Service To America Medals gala. His work righted a troubled program, leading to the telescope’s successful launch last December.
Efforts from resettling Afghan refugees to making your food safe to eat all come thanks to federal employees. But the work doesn’t end there.
During 2020, the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic moved to center stage in the public’s eye. And now, more than two years later, the Partnership continued emphasizing the ongoing efforts that have weaved across many agencies, with federal research teams that are still studying the pandemic and working to protect the American public.
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Alongside the many pandemic-related efforts, building the public’s trust in government also sat front and center for the Sammies this year. The Partnership has said that improving trust in government can often boil down to the efforts of dedicated civil servants, who function outside the partisan politics that the public often associates with the federal government.
“The work of our government is often invisible to the public, but the 2022 Service to America Medal winners place the spotlight on a wide range of remarkable success stories and defy the stereotypes of those who are dedicated to serving the nation and our collective interests,” said Max Stier, the Partnership’s president and CEO.
And teamwork, another key ingredient for many of the nominees and winners this year, not only showed up among employees within the same office, but also in cross-agency collaboration. One nominated group, for instance, helped target and remove terrorist groups that were trying to take advantage of the pandemic. Another team of feds was central to quickly developing COVID-19 vaccines and getting them onto the market. A third nominated group developed technology to more quickly detect and remove dangerous methane leaks.
“During these turbulent times when federal employees have been threatened and demonized, the accomplishments of the Sammies winners demonstrate the important role that dedicated civil servants and our government play in meeting the critical needs of the nation,” Stier said.
The awards, often dubbed the “Oscars” of federal service, will go to a handful of the many unsung heroes of the federal workforce. The Partnership will present awards to the Sammies winners at a gala on the evening of Sept. 20.
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