View the full 2016 award program >>link

Celebrated the first week of May since 1985, Public Service Recognition Week has been a time for the USDA’s employee organization (OPEDA) in partnership with the USDA and Departmental Management to recognize the dedication and service of the USDA employees through the Unsung Hero Award Program.


The Organization Of Professional Employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture

On Tuesday May 3, 2016 we joined together in Washington D.C to honor twelve Unsung Heroes including two groups and eleven honorable mentions. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack greeted the 2016 Unsung Heroes and welcomed them with a guided tour of his office. At the program the Master of Ceremony Dr. Zina B. Sutch shared examples of the exceptional service of the honorees. Awardees accepted certificates of appreciation from OPEDA’s Executive VP, Louis Iacoletti and Assistant Secretary for Administration, Dr. Gregory L. Parham. Secretary Vilsack  joined the ceremony speaking of the great contributions of the USDA employees and expressing how incredibly proud , honored , and  touched he is by the awardees as he feels we all should be.

The USDA and OPEDA  are certainly inspired by the honorees and their extraordinary devotion to the USDA and the public they serve.  We would like to thank everyone who participated in nominating a colleague; with your support we are able to show our appreciation of the many deserving employees that would otherwise go unrecognized.  We sincerely thank Departmental Management, the Office of the Secretary, and USDA mission areas and agencies for their continuing support of, and participation in this important annual event. 

The USDA and OPEDA Honor the 2016 Unsung Hero Award Winners


2017 Unsung Hero Award Winners 

Rupert Richards, AMS
Tinene Frazier, APHIS
Colleen McMahan, ARS
US Forest Service Region-4 Law Enforcement Team: 

Jarvis Alexander, Larry Hall, Don Harris, Brandon Robinson, and Ira Smith
Kimberly Lightley, FS
John Piche, FS
Karen Malkin, FSA
Tifanii Dahl, FSA
Jill Snyder and Kelly Clines, FSA

John Froehlich, FSIS
Charles Jackson, GIPSA


Unsung Hero Nomination Form  UnsungHeroNomination2018.pdf

2017 Unsung Hero Honorable Mentions

Taurus Preston, AMS
Bobby Baker, APHIS
National Agricultural Library
Customer Service Team, ARS
Bob Beckley, FS
Peggy Brown, FSA
Peter Bautista, NRCS
Carol Crouch, NRCS
John Englert, NRCS
Kathy Byrnes, RD