The "Sammies" are awards ( 2012 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals ) to federal employees for service to America. This year's awardees are described in this Post piece.
Of course they all appear to be big shots, which sort of makes sense because bureaucratically speaking, the higher you rise in an organization the greater your impact and thus potentially the greater the contribution you can make to the U.S.
Somehow today this logic falls flat to me. If I've got a rich uncle who dies and leaves me money, lots of money, I might just set up a series of awards for employees at the lower end of the pay scale, people who went far beyond the bounds of their job description. Seems to me performance by lower-paid employees could be much more extraordinary, all things considered, than the jobs done by GS-14's. Maybe set the cutoff at GS-7, or at GS-12, but no higher.
Beyond the challenge of identifying a rich uncle, the next step is figuring out an impartial way to make the awards.