The Partnership for Public Service has announced the winners of the 2023 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals® (Sammies) awards.
The Sammies awards ceremony will be held on Tuesday, October 17, 2023 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
CNN’s Kate Bolduan will serve as the emcee for the awards ceremony. Special gala speakers include White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, Secretary of Agriculture Thomas J. Vilsack, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, and Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro.
2023 Sammies Award Winners
Laura Cooper of the Department of Defense (Washington, D.C.) is the recipient of the Federal Employee of the Year Medal, the top honor of the Sammies program. Cooper and her Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia Policy team led a nimble, meaningful response by the U.S. and its allies to support Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s unprovoked aggression by delivering critical military supplies and other aid at an unprecedented pace.
Melissa Emrey-Arras from the Government Accountability Office’s Workforce and Income Security Team (Boston, Mass.) is the recipient of the Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Award. During her 21-year career at the GAO, Emry-Arras led investigations and proposed recommendations that have helped millions access federal student aid and have their student loans forgiven, while rooting out fraudulent student loan schemes.
The Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Medal is named after the extraordinary public servant who made a profound difference for our country and was the leading voice on the value of government service. In 2019, the Partnership renamed the Sammies career achievement medal in his honor. The Paul A. Volcker Career Achievement Medal is supported by Ray and Barbara Dalio.
Fletcher Schoen and Jennifer Harkins of the Department of State (Washington, D.C.) are the recipients of the Emerging Leaders Medal. Schoen and Harkins played integral roles in releasing 11 American prisoners wrongfully detained in Russia and Venezuela, contributing to creative diplomatic strategies and delicate negotiations while showing compassion to the families and keeping them informed.
Paul Nissenbaum, Gloria Shepard, and Maria Lefevre of the Department of Transportation’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Implementation team (Washington, D.C.) are the recipients of the Management Excellence Medal. The team helped craft and implement the $1 trillion infrastructure law modernizing the nation’s highways, bridges, shipping ports, railroads, and airports.
Joshua Mellor of the Department of Justice, Nicholas I. Cheviron, and Stephanie Stevens of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Operation Trojan Shield Team (San Diego, Calif.) are the recipients of the Safety, Security and International Affairs Medal. The Operation Trojan Shield team conceived and led a unique worldwide investigation using information from a government-controlled encrypted messaging service that resulted in the arrest of more than a thousand drug traffickers and members of organized crime syndicates.
Brian Key and Scott Bellamy of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Huntsville, Ala.) are the recipients of the Science, Technology and Environment Medal. Key and Bellamy managed the NASA team that successfully altered the orbit of an asteroid, providing the first-ever planetary defense test that could protect Earth from celestial threats.
In addition to the six medalists, the Partnership will present its sixth annual Spirit of Service Award to Judy Woodruff, senior correspondent at PBS and the former anchor and managing editor of PBS’ “NewsHour.”
The winners of the ninth annual Service to America Medals People’s Choice award presented in July are Megan Meacham, Allison Hutchings, Sarah O’Donnell.