Service to America Medal Recipients
The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service presented nine Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) at a Washington, D.C. gala on September 15 to outstanding public servants who are making high-impact contributions to the health, safety and well-being of Americans.
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Sammies have earned a reputation as one of the most prestigious awards dedicated to honoring America's civil servants.
The top medal, Federal Employee of the Year, was presented to research hydrologist Paul Hsieh of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for providing critical information to help end the worst oil spill in the nation's history, the 2010 rupture of the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.
Additional Service to America Medals went to federal workers whose achievements range from caring for our veterans to diagnosing mysterious diseases for long suffering patients.
Medalists come from the Departments of Justice, Treasury and Veterans Affairs, as well as the National Institutes of Health, NASA, Social Security Administration and USGS. They work in Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Houston and Menlo Park, Calif.
"The recipients of the Service to America Medals showcase the good that government does, which positively affects our lives every day," said Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president and CEO. "By honoring these outstanding public servants, we give America's unsung heroes the long overdue thanks and recognition they deserve."
The 2011 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals recipients are:
- Paul A. Hsieh, Federal Employee of the Year Medal
During the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Hsieh provided critical scientific information to convince federal officials that the containment cap on a ruptured deep water oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was working, thereby helping end the environmental disaster.
- Alfonso Batres, Career Achievement Medal
Batres, a Vietnam War veteran, has devoted his career to building a national network of 300 small, community-based centers where veterans traumatized by combat obtain counseling, job assistance, medical referrals and other services, often from veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Ann S. Martin, Call to Service Medal
Twenty-nine year old Martin worked with Mexican officials to study cross-border currency flows and help disrupt the laundering of billions of dollars derived from illicit U.S. drug sales.
- Diane Braunstein, Citizen Services Medal
Braunstein created a compassionate allowance program for terminally and seriously ill Americans to receive approval for Social Security disability benefits in days or weeks instead of months or years.
- C. Norman Coleman, Homeland Security Medal
Coleman, a renowned radiation oncologist, developed a comprehensive roadmap to help the U.S. government and emergency responders prepare for a dreadful scenario – a terrorist attack involving radiological or nuclear materials. Because of his expertise, Coleman was called to advise on the Japanese response to radiation from this year's earthquake and tsunami-damaged nuclear power plants.
- Charles Heurich and the NamUs Team, Justice and Law Enforcement Medal
Heurich and his team created and launched an innovative, missing and unidentified persons database that allows law enforcement, families and others to share information and potentially solve cases nationwide.
- W. Todd Grams, Management Excellence Medal
Grams led significant reforms that integrate and streamline agency operations, reducing costs and delivering better service to America's veterans.
- James Michael Duncan and the Chilean miners NASA Rescue Support Team, National Security and International Affairs Medal
Duncan and his team provided medical, nutritional, psychological, survival and engineering expertise learned from space exploration to help 33 Chilean miners who were trapped 2,300 feet underground for 69 days.
- William A. Gahl, Science and Environment Medal
Gahl is America's leading medical sleuth, a physician dedicated to finding answers for suffering patients with mysterious diseases that have long eluded diagnosis. As the founding director of the Undiagnosed Diseases Program, Gahl brings together a unique combination of elite medical specialists, researchers and federal resources to solve baffling illnesses. Results include successful diagnosis and treatments of diseases so rare that they don't even have names.