Federal employees have until the end of Jan. 15 to nominate outstanding colleagues for a 2017 Service to America award.
The prestigious annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals honor the best of the federal workforce, selecting winners based on the impact of their work, an appreciation for innovation, demonstrated leadership and a commitment to public service. Since 2002, the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has awarded the “Oscars” of government service, which are named in honor of the philanthropist and businessman who founded the organization in 2001.
All career civil servants are eligible for an award, and anyone familiar with a nominee’s work can submit a nomination. Winners can be individuals or teams of up to three people in eight categories: Federal Employee of the Year; Career Achievement; Call to Service; Citizen Services; Homeland Security and Law Enforcement; Management Excellence; National Security and International Affairs; and Science and Environment. For the past two years, the Partnership also has handed out a People’s Choice Award, which goes to the Sammie finalist whom the public decides has made the greatest contribution to the American people.
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In the past, Sammie winners received cash awards ranging from $3,000 to $10,000. For 2017, the Partnership is "considering new ideas for the actual awards the honorees will receive this year, but haven’t finalized what that will be," said spokeswoman Erika Walter by email. "For encouraging nominations, we’ve focused on the message that simply nominating someone is a great opportunity to recognize and appreciate high-performing employees or colleagues, and for leaders to highlight their important achievements over the past few years," she wrote.
In 2016, the selection committee chose the winners among 32 finalists plucked from more than 350 nominations.
- Tate Jarrow, special agent, U.S. Secret Service, who hunts down cyber criminals and helped catch individuals involved in massive hacks into U.S. financial institutions, a news organization and other companies.
- Lisa M. Jones of the Treasury Department, who has assisted low-income communities in securing investment capital to finance small businesses, affordable housing, schools and day-care centers.
- Kirk Yeager, chief explosives scientist at the FBI, who has applied his experience and expertise to understanding and detecting the bombs terrorists use.
The Partnership will announce 30 finalists for the 2017 awards this spring, honoring them on Capitol Hill during Public Service Recognition Week. Winners will be feted at a black-tie event in Washington in the fall.