An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The State Department is pleased to announce that Mr. Ian Brownlee, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, and the multi-agency team he led, have been named as one of the finalists for the 2021 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals (Sammies) for their efforts in repatriating more than 100,000 U.S. citizens stranded in countries around the world when borders were closed and airports shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In early 2020, the Department of State rose to meet the historic challenge posed by coronavirus all over the world. The U.S. government has no higher priority than the protection of U.S. citizens, and Mr. Brownlee and his team demonstrated the spirit of public service by working round-the-clock to help U.S. citizens return home.

The Sammies are the premier awards program recognizing America’s best in government, sponsored by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service. This year, the Partnership is adding a COVID-19 Response medal to recognize the extraordinary federal workers who played a leading role in responding to the pandemic and saving lives.

On Wednesday, May 5, at 12:30 p.m. EDT, the Partnership and Axios will air a virtual event to recognize the 2021 Service to America Medal finalists. All 29 finalists are also eligible for the Service to America Medals People’s Choice Award. Members of the public can vote online for the federal employee they believe has made the most significant contributions in public service. The People’s Choice winner will be announced in the summer.

The Partnership will recognize the seven recipients of 2021 Service to America Medals, including the Federal Employee of the Year, this fall.

For more information, see the Service to America Medals’ website.

For press inquiries or to request an interview with Acting Assistant Secretary Brownlee on his being named as a Sammies finalist, please contact

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future