Celebrating Excellence

Service to America finalists inspire public service.

Over the past five years, Government Executive has been proud to sponsor the Service to America Medals program, celebrating high achievers in the civil service whose work has been of great benefit to the United States. This year, nearly 500 people were nominated and 30 semifinalists were honored at a congressional breakfast in June. Only nine will win a medal at the Sept. 27 gala we co-sponsor with our partner in the SAM program, the Partnership for Public Service. But all deserve recognition and praise, and I can think of no better way to use this space than to highlight their achievements. Fuller accounts of their contributions can be found at www.servicetoamericamedals.org. The finalists:

  • Raymond Brammer Jr. of the Social Security Administration led efforts to get benefits to Hurricane Katrina victims and restore SSA operations in Louisiana.
  • Robert J. Brandewie developed the Defense Department's common access card, providing secure credentials to more than 3 million Defense workers.
  • Brian Bucaro, Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau, led an investigation that resulted in the dismantling of an illicit Iranian arms procurement network.
  • Thomas Casadevall and his Geological Survey team used high-tech mapping techniques to rescue thousands of Katrina victims.
  • Nancy Cox and the influenza division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are leading preparations for a flu pandemic.
  • George V. DiBiase, Navy, invented the catapult system that is used on all U.S. aircraft carriers.
  • The ICE Cyber Crime Center Team, headed by Gene Driggers, provided forensic data to support prosecution of corrupt contracting in Iraq.
  • Alonzo L. Fulgham, Agency for International Development, led efforts to rebuild agriculture, health care and education infrastructure in Afghanistan.
  • W. Martin Harrell of the Environmental Protection Agency successfully prosecuted criminals for illegal storage, transportation and export of hazardous waste.
  • A Drug Enforcement Administration rescue team led by Kevin Harrison rescued 90 seniors abandoned in a nursing home after Katrina.
  • Norden E. Huang of NASA pioneered research to improve spacecraft, earthquake-proof buildings, bridges, submarines, medicines and more.
  • Betsy M. Kinter, Internal Revenue Service, set up customer call centers that helped 948,000 Katrina victims receive federal relief.
  • Robert J. Lamb of the Interior Department pioneered conservation strategies built on cooperation among environmental groups and the private sector.
  • Thomas M. Lastowka and his team created a Veterans Affairs Department program that provides financial assistance to traumatically injured service members and their families.
  • Matthew D. Lowe, State Department, laid groundwork for a historic nuclear energy agreement with India.
  • Joseph J. Lusczek Jr., Air Force, designed key systems for most Air Force planes flying today.
  • Emily H. Majcher, Geological Survey, developed new technology to treat contaminated wetlands.
  • Winfred Malone, National Cancer Institute, pioneered a field of cancer prevention research.
  • Defense's Ron McNeal designed the military's personnel recovery program that has successfully rescued more than 1,000 people in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Suzanne Petrie, Homeland Security Department, served as principal liaison to Mexico on national and border security.
  • William D. Phillips, National Institute of Standards and Technology, launched a new subfield of atomic, molecular and optical physics and won a Nobel Prize.
  • Ambassador Nancy Powell of the National Intelligence Council led diplomatic efforts to organize international preparations for an avian flu pandemic.
  • Mark R. Price of the Federal Aviation Administration led U.S. efforts to rebuild the Baghdad airport and Iraq's aviation infrastructure.
  • Dr. Stuart Richer and his team at VA have clinically proved the benefits of nutritional supplements.
  • Christina Sanford, State Department, provided critical support for Iraq's democratically elected government.
  • Robert A. Schoch of ICE established a compliance unit to disrupt, target and investigate illegitimate travelers and better enforce immigration laws.
  • Leigh Senzatimore and an ICE team dismantled one of the largest human trafficking rings ever uncovered.
  • Karen Stewart, Health Resources and Services Administration, is a key figure in the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
  • Mark S. Ward of AID managed U.S. recovery and reconstruction efforts after the Asia tsunami and South Asia earthquake.
  • Robin E. Ware, U.S. Postal Service, engineered quick and full recovery of mail service to the region devastated by Katrina.
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