Quiet Heroes and Innovators

"A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."

- Christopher Reeve (1952-2004) well known actor (Superman)
Many public servants work in environments that challenge even the most optimistic, creative, and industrious personalities. A defining characteristic of public servants is their motivation to contribute to improving the lives of their fellow citizens and their compelling desire to address social problems. While some individuals in public service may rise to positions of great responsibility an power -- such as the United States President and Supreme Court Justices -- many, many more serve in relative anonymity. These quiet heroes and innovators deserve to be recognized for their service to the public.

In this collection we celebrate quiet heroes and innovators, some of whom have been memorialized with national monuments, as in the case of Mary McLeod Bethune, an educator and activist who made significant contributions to the rights of African Americans, and was recognized with national awards for public service. Also featured is the National Public Service Award, established by The American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) to honor individual public servants whose impressive careers and accomplishments make them exemplary public servants. Winners of this award are celebrated for their willingness to take risks to achieve change, for making a profound difference to improve public service, for achieving savings in government operations, developing a cadre of government leaders, and for contributing to the communities in which they live. Indeed, many of these individuals can be regarded as quiet heroes and innovators in the public sector.

Quiet Heroes & Innovators

National Public Service Award Recipients

The complete list of National Public Service Award Recipients can be viewed here.

Quiet Heroes and Innovators