Amanda Farnan
Press Secretary
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Partnership for Public Service Honors Best in Government

September 20, 2016

WASHINGTON – The nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service will present eight Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) on Tuesday, September 20 to remarkable public servants who are making a difference in their communities and improving the the lives of Americans and others around the world. 

Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the Service to America Medals, also known as the “Oscars of government service,” are the premier awards dedicated to celebrating our nation’s civil servants. 

“During this highly-charged presidential election season, we should not forget the innovative and talented federal civil servants who are delivering incredible results for the American public,” said Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president and CEO. “Whoever is elected, our next President will need dedicated government workers, like the ones we are recognizing at the Service to America Medals, to carry out his or her agenda. A workforce of high-performing career civil servants is vital to the success of the new administration and for our government as a whole. Join me in congratulating these extraordinary men and women, who represent the very best in government.” 

The 2016 Service to America Medals Masters of Ceremonies are actor Michael Kelly of “House of Cards,” and journalist Stephanie Ruhle, of NBC’s Weekend Today Show and MSNBC. 

Special gala presenters include, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Admiral Thad W. Allen (Ret.), NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, and former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers. 

The eight award winners were chosen from 32 finalists and more than 350 nominees by a prestigious selection committee that includes leaders from government, business, the foundation and nonprofit community, academia, entertainment and the media. 

The recipients of the 2016 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals are:

The top award, Federal Employee of the Year, will be presented to Paul McGann, Dennis Wagner, and Jean Moody-Williams, a team at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Each year, it is estimated that tens of thousands of U.S. hospital patients die because of medical errors and avoidable infections, costing hospitals billions of dollars annually and eroding patient trust in the health care system. This team created a unique public-private initiative to increase patient safety and reduce hospital readmissions. The results were an estimated 87,000 lives saved, 2.1 million fewer medical errors and $20 billion in cost savings. 

Kathleen B. Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for the Department of Energy, will receive the Career Achievement Medal. In more than two decades in government, Hogan has overseen a number of pivotal national energy efficiency initiatives and new standards that will lead to 3 billion fewer tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 and save taxpayers a half trillion dollars. 

Thomas A. Mariani, Jr., Steven O’Rourke and Sarah D. Himmelhoch of the Department of Justice will be awarded the Homeland Security and Law Enforcement Medal. This team led the government’s five-year, landmark case against BP for the massive 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In litigating the case, the trio secured for the Department of Justice and five states a record-breaking $20.8 billion settlement, the government’s largest ever against a single defendant. It will help redress the devastating environmental and economic damage caused to the Gulf Coast region. 

Kirk Yeager has assisted with virtually every high-profile bomb attack in the past several years, including bombings in European cities this past spring. As the FBI’s premier bomb expert, Yeager leads U.S. and foreign law enforcement to determine how terrorist-made explosives work and finds new ways to detect and stop them. Chief explosives scientist for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will receive this year’s National Security and International Affairs Medal. Yeager 

The Science and Environment Medal will be presented to Jaques Reifman and the APPRAISE team at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. Undetected internal bleeding is the greatest risk to the lives of seriously wounded soldiers, yet taking vital signs does not supply all the information medics need to figure out if someone is in critical condition. Reifman led the team that created a first-of-its-kind, portable computer system to detect internal bleeding quickly and accurately during emergency transport. It enables medics to treat patients appropriately and alert trauma centers to get ready to provide immediate blood transfusions to save these patients’ lives. 

The Call to Service Medal will be awarded to Tate A. Jarrow, special agent for the U.S. Secret Service. Jarrow played a vital role in two of the government’s biggest cybercrime cases, and helped bring to justice individuals involved in computer hacking, stock manipulation, credit card fraud, money laundering and other illicit activities.  

This year’s Citizen Services Medal will be presented to Lisa M. Jones, program manager for the Department of the Treasury. Jones stood up and now directs a long-term bond program that has resulted in $852 million in loans to low-income communities since 2013. The loans have financed small businesses, affordable rental housing, day care centers, senior living facilities, charter schools and health care facilities. The game-changing program is set up to function at no cost to taxpayers. 

The Management Excellence Medal will be presented to William Gregory Burel, director of the division of Strategic National Stockpile at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Burel expertly manages the $7 billion repository of critical medication and supplies available to supplement state and local resources during a public health emergency. He has led 10 large-scale and more than 30 smaller emergency deployments, from an influenza pandemic to the Ebola crisis. 

The Service to America Medals People’s Choice award will be presented to Edward Grace and the Operation Crash Team of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As part of a broad U.S. strategy to combat this pernicious wildlife trafficking, Grace and his team have been leading a nationwide law enforcement investigation known as Operation Crash that is targeting those who smuggle, sell and trade the very lucrative rhino horns and elephant ivory. This is the second time the public was able to vote for the federal employee they think has made the most admirable contribution to the American people. This year’s People’s Choice received 13,000 votes! All 32 Sammies finalists were eligible to win this award. The entire awards ceremony will be streamed live from Washington, D.C. and viewable online at, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. EDT. 

For profiles and videos of the medalists, and to nominate a federal employee for a 2017 medal, visit 

The premier and national sponsors for the 2016 Service to America Medals are Mrs. Ronnie Heyman and the Heyman Family, and Microsoft. 

Renamed the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals in 2010 to commemorate the organization’s founder, the program has honored more than 450 outstanding federal employees since its inception in 2002. 

For 15 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to making the federal government more effective for the American people. The Partnership works across administrations to help transform the way government operates by increasing collaboration, accountability, efficiency and innovation.