On Thursday, October 3, the Partnership for Public Service presented nine outstanding public servants with the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies). Having earned the reputation as the “Oscars” of public service, the achievements of the 2013 medal recipients range from eradicating polio in India to landing an exploratory vehicle on Mars to saving the Air Force more than $1 billion in 2012 by reducing energy consumption. The top medal, Federal Employee of the Year, was presented to a National Institutes of Health team of doctors led by Drs. Julie Segre and Tara Palmore for revolutionizing the way hospital-acquired infections can be identified and halted through genetic sequencing of the bacteria. An estimated 100,000 U.S. patients die annually from hospital-acquired infections.

“We will never get what we want out of our government if its successes aren’t identified, celebrated and replicated,” said Max Stier, Partnership for Public Service president and CEO. “Smart, dedicated public servants are making contributions that change the world for the better every day, and it is especially meaningful that we happen to be recognizing them at a time when Congress has closed the doors on their great work.”

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