Elevating stories of impact for Black History Month
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Elevating stories of impact for Black History Month

February 25, 2022

Federal employees are responsible for many noteworthy and inspiring accomplishments that are seldom recognized or celebrated. Each year, the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals® highlight excellence in our federal workforce and inspire other talented and dedicated individuals to go into public service. In honor of Black History Month, we are sharing a few stories from past Sammies winners and finalists whose work with underserved communities has changed lives and serves as an inspiration for us all.

Social services

Michelle Daniels, Charles D. Eldridge, Ryan E. Jones and the Office of Public and Indian Housing Foster Youth to Independence team – Created an innovative program offering housing assistance and social services to young people aging out of foster care to prevent them from experiencing homelessness and to help them thrive.

Ryan Shelby – Provided vital training and resources to help people in Haiti rebuild thousands of homes and roofs ripped apart by a Category 4 hurricane, making the structures safer and stronger to withstand future disasters.

Health services

Gary H. Gibbons and Eliseo J. Pérez-Stable – Developed and implemented federal programs to increase COVID-19 testing as well as participation in treatment and vaccine trials in underserved communities across the country.

Griffin P. Rodgers – Developed the first effective drug treatment for sickle cell disease—an illness that disproportionately affects Black Americans—to lessen pain and suffering, and oversaw a stem cell transplant clinical trial that reversed the debilitating illness in a majority of patients.

Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp – Pioneered research to understand the prevalence of autism and other developmental disabilities, influencing the expansion of health, social and educational services for children with special needs.

Financial services

Corvelli A. McDaniel and Lorraine Cole – Created an innovative program for large commercial financial institutions to provide management and technical assistance that help small and banks owned by Black, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, and Native Americans strengthen their balance sheets and better serve underserved communities.

Lisa M. Jones – Helped underserved communities gain access to investment capital to fund health care centers, charter schools, day care centers, housing, small business development and commercial real estate projects.

Jon Michael Seward – For nearly 30 years, brought successful lawsuits against banks to ensure that tens of thousands of people living in underserved communities could gain access to credit.

Read our Service to America Medals blog posts for more stories of federal employees making an impact.

Photo by Joshua Roberts.

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