“Essential Worker” Coins Presented to Madison, Wisc., Circuit Team Members
By Felicia Thompson, OPACE
During the third quarter of Fiscal Year 2021, Administrator Paul Kiecker and Deputy Administrator Terri Nintemann commissioned “Essential Worker” recognition coins, also called “pandemic coins,” to thank FSIS employees for their service early in the COVID-19 pandemic. The citation that came with the coins (see below) noted that employees “contributed tremendously to FSIS’ ability to fulfill federal inspection duties and ensure that no FSIS-regulated establishment closed due to a lack of inspection personnel.” The efforts of these dedicated public servants at the worksite allowed consumers to have access to safe meat, poultry and egg products.
The Agency awarded 7,432 coins in all. In general, supervisors presented the coins directly to their team members. Frontline Supervisor (FLS) Dr. Catherine Pierce, a 14-year FSIS employee in the Des Moines District, personally delivered pandemic coins to recipients on her team in the Madison, Wisconsin, circuit.
“I traveled to various locations to meet with my staff and present their coins. Inspection can be a very difficult and demanding job. I wanted to convey how much each person means to our circuit and to the Agency,” Pierce said. "It seemed a small thing to sacrifice, the time and energy it took to hand-deliver these recognition coins, spend a few minutes with them, find out how they are doing, and to let them know that they are appreciated by the Agency and their work is important.”
She remarked that her team never complained about how hard it was to get their work done. “They continued to go to work when there was so much confusion about the pandemic and how to stay safe. To me, all of this speaks volumes regarding my team’s dedication.”
Many of the recipients from the Madison circuit are pictured here with their coins. The numbers on the photos correspond to the team members and the sentiments they shared.
- Pictured, from left: Consumer Safety Inspectors (CSI) Dan Bries, FLS Dr. Pierce and CSI Rich Rink. Rink said, “The pandemic coin represents a trying time where the people I work with and I succeeded in the face of adversity.”
- CSI Ntyce Hiro. “I’m honored to have received the pandemic coin, and I’m happy to have been able to do my job during the pandemic.”
- Pictured, from left: FLS Dr. Pierce and CSI Linda Worley.
- Enforcement, Investigations, and Analysis Officer John Cottier. “What [inspectors] do is important to protect the public. The Agency and public expect us to go out every day and do our jobs, and we get it done!”
- CSI Christian Acevedo.
- The Essential Worker recognition coin is brass, weighs 1-1/3 ounces, and designed by the FSIS Office of Public Affairs and Consumer Education.
- CSI Jenna King.
- CSI Colby Brock. “FSIS is my career home. The recognition coin is a very cool keepsake that I’ll show my son when he is older. My immediate and frontline supervisor have been very supportive and understanding during the pandemic; the coin is just the cherry on top.”
- CSI Jim Harrison.
- CSI Erik Saxer.
- CSI Mickey Sanborn. “The pandemic coin shows how we came together and supported each other through long hours during such a trying and stressful time. The coin makes me feel proud. I have always been proud to be a part of the Agency and being recognized with the coin for work during a pandemic is such a great feeling.”
- CSI Steven Lee. “Receiving the coin is a lasting symbol that, even during a pandemic, as a team we can all achieve more and are making a difference.”
- (Retired) SPHV Dr. Joe Schurhammer.
- CSI Erik Malvesti. “The coin is a neat memento to remind me of an interesting period in my career.”
- CSI Don Bebee.
- CSI Matthew Peyton. “My job gives me the opportunity to make sure that loved ones and the general public receive wholesome, safe and properly labeled product.”
- CSI Derek Wallenhorst.