Outstanding Handicapped Federal Employee of the Year

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A white woman seated in a wheelchair, with an eyepatch, glasses, wearing a corsage; her legs are both prosthetics; she is holding a plaque; kneeling next to her is another white woman, First Lady Pat Nixon, wearing a checked suit and smiling
Alice Chancellor and Pat Nixon, at the 1971 presentation of the Outstanding Handicapped Federal Employee of the Year award

Outstanding Handicapped Federal Employee of the Year was an annual award given by the United States Civil Service Commission beginning in 1969, to recognize exceptional job performance "in spite of severely limiting physical factors."[1] For the first few years, ten finalists were selected by a committee, from among the nominations from federal agencies, and one winner was named. Beginning in 1973, the ten finalists were honored without a single winner chosen.[2]

Prominent finalists for this award included chemist Odette L. Shotwell, Army engineer Alice Chancellor, and John Fales, founder and president of the Blinded American Veterans Foundation.[3] A 1986 recipient, LeRoy MItchell, explained to a reporter that "If there's any benefit to these awards after all, besides an ego trip for me, it would be that potential employers would realize that most office-type work is the kind of vocation anyone can handle with severe handicaps."[4] Others expressed concern that "the use of an individual's physical condition as a basis for reward fosters separateness and inequality."[5]

Award nominees, winners, and presenters, 1968 to 1973[edit]

This chart is complete, based on program from the 1973 awards presentation in 1974.[2]

Award year Ceremony date Presenter(s) Finalists Winner
1968 March 25, 1969 Spiro Agnew

Robert E. Hampton

Katherine A. Niemeyer

Thomas J. Garrick

William S. Grayson

James A. Krueger

Lawrence P. Kuykendall

Neal V. Loving

Odette L. Shotwell

Paul F. Spence

Aubrey T. Tapley

Elwood Williams III

Katherine A. Niemeyer[6]
1969 March 19, 1970 James E. Johnson

Harold Russell

Robert L. Smith

Jimmy D. Adams

Thomas S. Austin Sr.

Jay Justin Basch[7]

Mrs. Francis B. Garcia

Ralph Harwood

Dorothy Hickey

Earl A. Miller

Philip P. Pepper

Magdalene Phillips

Robert L. Smith
1970 March 25, 1971 Pat Nixon

J. Philip Bohart

Alice Chancellor

William J. Gobert

Susan Gonzales

Pruett B. Helm

Kent H. McKnight[8]

Eugene F. Murphy

Richard S. Sharp

Timothy A. Votaw

Leon G. Wichmann

Robert E. Wilkerson[9]

Alice Chancellor
1971 April 6, 1972 Tricia Nixon Cox

Jayne Baker Spain

Shirley K. Price

Wallace E. Brooks

Donald F. Cudahy

Martha F. Elam

Thomas F. Linde

Edward A. Lusk

John B. McGinley

Bernard A. Perella

Patricia Porembski

Jack G. Lorts

Shirley K. Price[10]
1972 April 5, 1973 Julie Nixon Eisenhower Irvin Hershowitz

Arthur R. Bietry

Lillian F. Freston

James J. Hazuga Sr.[11]

Edmund H. Inselmann[12]

Paul L. Kyle

Assunta Lilley

Jack O. McSpadden

Arthur H. Neill Jr.

Gwenyth R. Vaughn

Irvin Hershowitz
1973[2][13] April 4, 1974 Bob Dole

Jayne Baker Spain

Robert L. Bates

Edwin C. Boyles

William L. Brewster

Frank G. Chituras

Icy D. Deans

Howard J. Garling

Cheryl Lee Maloney

Oral O. Miller

John R. Stodgell

Russell C. Williams

(no individual winners after 1972)

Award finalists and presenters after 1973[edit]

This chart is currently incomplete, based mostly on announcements about individual finalists.

Award year Ceremony date Presenter(s) Finalists
1974 March 1975 Howard Davis[14]

Billy West[15]

1975 Edward V. Pope[16]
1977[17] October 6, 1977 Rosalynn Carter Sharon Hovey Wilkin

Robert Adams

Dennis Meyers

Christopher Branigan

Donna Pastore

1978 Earl Brawner[18]
1979[19] October 4, 1979 Eleanor Holmes Norton

Alan K. "Scotty" Campbell

G. Robert Hill

Donald R. Ames

Paul E. Bricker Jr.[20]

Hilliard A. Carter

Carol A. Edwards

John J. Lacombe II

Theodore A. Nichols

Emily S. Ortt

A. Leigh Phillips

James R. Slagle

1980 Jimmy Carter John L. Moser[21]

Douglas Gower[22]

Edward Sanders[23]

1981 William Gilliland Jr.[24]

Robert A. Bottenberg[25]

1982 October 1982 Caspar Weinberger Humberto R. Yglesias[26]

Eva Ball[27]

1983 Theodore Bridis
1986 October 9, 1986 LeRoy Mitchell[4]

Martha Wells Usry[28]

1988 Sandra Drake[29]


  1. ^ "Handicapped Employee Example for Others". The Lompoc Record. 1979-03-09. p. 4. Retrieved 2021-10-07 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ a b c The Outstanding Handicapped Federal Employees Award Program. U.S. Civil Service Commission. April 4, 1974.
  3. ^ Dalecki, Ken. "John Fales, 78, known as "Sgt. Shaft"". National Press Club. Retrieved 2021-10-07.
  4. ^ a b Adams, Elaine (1986-10-16). "Wheelchair No Handicap to Doing the Job". The Kansas City Star. p. 3. Retrieved 2021-10-07 – via Newspapers.com.
  5. ^ Barad, Cary B.; Gold, Irene (January 1978). "Honor or Stigma?". Civil Service Journal. 18: 30–31 – via Internet Archive.
  6. ^ "VA Handicapped Employes Being Honored This Week". The Raleigh Register. 1969-10-10. p. 16. Retrieved 2021-10-07 – via Newspapers.com.
  7. ^ "A Natural in the World of Science". USDA. 41. May 19, 1982 – via Internet Archive.
  8. ^ "Former Prof Wins Citation". Daily Universe. April 9, 1971. p. 8. Retrieved October 7, 2021 – via Internet Archive.
  9. ^ "Wilkerson, ITS Physicist, in Finals for 1971 Handicapped Employee Award". NOAA Week. 2: 5. March 19, 1971.
  10. ^ "Black Woman Honored as Top Handicapped Employe in Federal Government". Jet. 42–43: 14. May 11, 1972.
  11. ^ "ESO Handicapped Employee Named for Outstanding Top Federal Award". Great Lakes Bulletin. 1973-03-23. p. 8. Retrieved 2021-10-07 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "Edmund Inselmann: Overcame handicaps, 81". Philadelphia Inquirer. December 4, 2007. Retrieved 2021-10-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ Staples, Edward (April–June 1974). "Disabled, but Able". Civil Service Journal. 14: 5–8.
  14. ^ "Blind Alameda Mechanic is Top Federal Worker". Oakland Tribune. 1975-03-29. p. 11. Retrieved 2021-10-08 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ "West Wins Award". Braille Book Review. 48: 6. July 1979 – via Internet Archive.
  16. ^ "Extension Employee Honored by Civil Service Commission (CSC)". Extension Service Review. 46: 23. May 1975 – via Internet Archive.
  17. ^ Whitaker, Joseph D. (October 20, 1977). "Handicapped Workers Cited for Achievements". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 6, 2021.
  18. ^ "A Man with Something to Say". Closer Look: 1. Spring 1982 – via Internet Archive.
  19. ^ "1979 Outstanding Handicapped Federal Employees". Spotlight. 11: 1, 4. September 1979 – via Internet Archive.
  20. ^ Hazlett, Kirk (December 1979). "Bricker Wins DA Awards, Devens' Esteem". Journal of the U.S. Army Intelligence & Security Command. 2: 25 – via Internet Archive.
  21. ^ "Handicapped Army Employee Receives Civilian Service Award". Asbury Park Press. 1980-10-09. p. 90. Retrieved 2021-10-07 – via Newspapers.com.
  22. ^ "Douglas Gower". Hannibal Courier Post. October 7, 2020. Retrieved 2021-10-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  23. ^ "Handicapped Federal Employee of the Year". The Deaf American. 33: 13–14. January 1981 – via Internet Archive.
  24. ^ Campbell, Sharon (1981-12-10). "Honoree Not Defeated by Physical Handicap". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. p. 20. Retrieved 2021-10-07 – via Newspapers.com.
  25. ^ "Outstanding Federal Handicapped Employee Named". The Hill Top Times. 1981-10-02. p. 4. Retrieved 2021-10-07 – via Newspapers.com.
  26. ^ Ibanez, Armando P. (1982-11-11). "NAS Worker Gets National Honor". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. p. 76. Retrieved 2021-10-07 – via Newspapers.com.
  27. ^ "Philadelphia Staffer Wins 1982 Outstanding Handicapped Federal Employee Award". The GAO Review. 17: 10. Fall 1982 – via Internet Archive.
  28. ^ Skelton, Billy (1986-09-07). "Determination leads to success, national recognition for Jacksonian". Clarion-Ledger. p. 87. Retrieved 2021-10-07 – via Newspapers.com.
  29. ^ "Logan Woman Gains National Honor As Handicapped Employee of Year". Deseret News. 1988-10-17. Retrieved 2021-10-07.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)