Thomas Roland, Jr., prevents criminals from coming into the country. But on Thursday night, he was a giddy New Jersey native who proudly walked into the Andrew Mellow Auditorium with his wife and parents in tow.
Roland was one of nine civil servants (pictured above) who were awarded the prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal from the Partnership for Public Service at a gala in Washington, D.C.
“This is incredible,” he said as he walked into the dining room with his family. Other than bragging about getting to see The Boss in concert the following evening, his humility was shared by his eight colleagues in the federal workforce who were each given a few minutes in the spotlight. Many expressed deep appreciation to colleagues and family members during their time at the microphone, followed by video presentations about the individual honorees.
Max Stier, President and CEO of the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, welcomed the crowd. Other appearances included Rep. Darrell Issa and White House Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu, who spoke on behalf of President Obama. Masters of Ceremonies Kyra Phillips, Anchor, HLN, and John Roberts, Senior National Correspondent, Fox News Channel, carried out the program with a few slices of humor.
Many of the winners acknowledged their pride at being included among such a distinguished group. For Dr. Lynne Mofenson, who received the evening’s top honor of Federal Employee of the Year for her role in eradicating infant HIV infections, the pride was reflected back onto her.
As she posed in her floor-length black gown for photos, her daughter Jessica smiled wide, looked at her mother and said, “I’m so proud of you.”
Additional presenters and dignitaries in attendance included: Acting Secretary Of Commerce, Rebecca Blank, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado, Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, Representative Jim Moran of Virginia, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton, Representative David Price Of North Carolina, Representative Allyson Schwartz of Pennsylvania, Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services William Corr, Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Scott Gould, Deputy Secretary of Education Anthony Miller, Deputy Secretary of Transportation John Porcari, Head of the Veterans Health Administration Robert Petzel, DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, OPM Director John Berry, Director of the NIH Francis Collins, Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology Patrick Gallagher, Director of the United States Holocaust Museum Sara Bloomfield, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board Deborah Hersman, Chairman and CEO of the Farm Credit Administration Leland Strom, Chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority Carol Waller Pope, and Chairman of The Administrative Conference Of The United States, Paul Verkuil.