If having Brad Pitt play him on “Saturday Night Live” wasn’t enough, Dr. Anthony Fauci was celebrated by a slew of celebrities on Monday for his public service.
Fauci was named Federal Employee of the Year at the Partnership for Public Service’s annual Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals ceremony, which was held virtually.
The award was introduced by Kristen Bell, who described Fauci as a “national heartthrob” while she was wearing a shirt emblazoned with “Fauci Fan Club.” “The Good Place” star narrated a career retrospective before Yo-Yo Ma, Bryan Cranston and Katie Couric popped up on screen to praise Fauci. “You have been the calming voice of sanity and clarity during the worst pandemic in a hundred years,” said “Schitt’s Creek” star Eugene Levy. “You’ve been a hero to me and to millions and millions of Americans.”
Mary Steenburgen called him “America’s scientist,” while Ty Burrell said, “You’re somebody I could point to when I’m trying to teach my kids what it looks like to be a hero.”
Others who took part in the tribute included Matthew McConaughey, Norah O’Donnell, Andrea Mitchell, Bill Gates, Stephen Colbert and Judy Woodruff.
“Tony, we love you,” Bono said. “We honor you and thank God for you.”
Fauci remained modest during his acceptance remarks. “When you are doing the kind of things I’m doing right now, the thing that you’re really focusing on like a laser beam is the job you have to do and the importance of that job and the importance of doing it well, so when you hear that you’ve won an award that’s so important such as the Sammie Award, you just sort of sit back and are very grateful for it,” he said.
Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush also delivered remarks praising federal workers.
“In this current moment, their contributions are ever more critical as we face down this pandemic and the economic uncertainty it’s brought with it,” Obama said. “Challenges like these are far too big for any single person or entity to solve alone. That’s why we need government. That’s why we need good government. And it’s why we need hardworking dedicated people who care less about themselves than they do about those around them.”
The ceremony was hosted by Kumail Nanjiani.