Finalists for Service to America Medals announced

The 2004 Service to America Medals finalists were announced Wednesday on Capitol Hill and praised for their dedication to the federal civil service.

At a luncheon in the Russell Senate Office Building, Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, and Timothy B. Clark, editor and president of Government Executive, announced the 28 finalists. They also emphasized the goal of recognizing the accomplishments of dedicated federal employees and inspiring a new generation of civil servants.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., also addressed the finalists, saying, "you're all Detroit Pistons today," a reference to Tuesday night's NBA championship win by the team. Lieberman, like Stier and Clark, said that government workers are rarely appreciated for the work they do, much less praised for it. He called the contributions of the finalists "historic, even if it doesn't feel like history at the time."

This year's finalists were narrowed down from a nomination group of about 500, and will be winnowed again into eight awardees. Medals will be awarded in the following categories: Federal Employee of the Year; Career Achievement; Call to Service; Homeland Security; Justice and Law Enforcement; National Security and International Affairs; Science and Environment, and Social Services.

This year's awardees will be the third group to receive the medal, created in 2002. The program, sponsored by the Partnership and Atlantic Media Co. (the parent company of Government Executive, will choose a winner in each of eight categories and award them the medal on Sept. 28 at a black-tie ceremony in Washington. Winners also will be given prizes ranging from $3,000 and $10,000.

The finalists for the Career Achievement Medal are Ambassador Prudence Bushnell, dean of the Leadership and Management School at the State Department Foreign Service Institute; Marsha Henderson, director of health programs at the Office of Women's Health of the Food and Drug Administration at the Health and Human Services Department; Dr. Han Kang, director of the War-Related Illness and Injury Studies Center of the Veterans Health Administration at the Veterans Affairs Department; David King, director of the Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA; and Dr. Elizabeth Martin, senior scientist and director of the Night Vision Program at the Air Force Research Laboratory.

The finalists for the Call to Service Medal, which honors employees at the beginning of their careers, are Dr. John Butler, research chemist at the Chemical Science and Technology Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology; Leopoldo Miranda-Castro, biologist at the Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior Department; Nicole Nelson-Jean, director of the Asia Office of the Energy Department; and Ranjeet Singh, program analyst for the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs at State Department.

The finalists for the Homeland Security Medal are Brad Gair, federal coordinating officer of the Federal Emergency Management Agency at the Homeland Security Department; Jose Melendez-Perez, Customs and Border Protection officer, Homeland Security Department; and Dr. Michael Washington, industrial engineer and health scientist for the National Immunization Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The finalists for the Justice and Law Enforcement Medal are Michele Culp, postal inspector and program manager at the Postal Inspection Service; Senior Special Agent Peter Darling and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Team at the Homeland Security Department; Samuel Holand, assistant inspector general for investigations of the Office of the Inspector General at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; and Supervisory Attorney Anna Moretto and the team at the Education Department's New York Office for Civil Rights.

The finalists for the National Security and International Affairs Medal are George Aldaya, director of the Kansas City Commodity Office of the Agriculture Department's Farm Service Agency; Keith Brown, deputy assistant administrator of the Bureau for Africa at the Agency for International Development; Stephen Browning, director of regional programs for the South Pacific Division of the Army Corps of Engineers; and Robert Clifford, supervisory special agent and legal attaché for the FBI.

The finalists for the Science and Environment Medal are: Dr. Amy Alving, director of the Special Projects Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency; Dr. Diane Drigot, senior natural resources management specialist at the Marine Corps; William Gerstenmaier, program manager for the International Space Station at NASA's Johnson Space Center; and D. Deborah Jin, physicist at the Commerce Department's National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The finalists for the Social Services Medal are Dr. Thomas Cacciarelli, chief of transplant surgery for the Pittsburgh Health Care System of the Veterans Affairs Department; Joseph Foster, senior attorney for the Public Health Office of the General Counsel, Health and Human Services Department; Associate Director for Marketing Practices Eileen Harrington and the Federal Trade Commission Do Not Call Team; and Dr. Margaret Washnitzer, director of State Assistance at the Office of Community Services of the Administration for Children and Families at the Health and Human Services Department.

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