The American Institute for Public Service presented its 1981 Jefferson Awards -- seen as the "Nobel Prize for public service" -- to a group representing government, the news media, and care for the disadvantaged.
Recipients included Warren M. Christopher, for negotiating the release of the hostages in Iran; Walter Cronkite, for integrity and excellence in reporting; teacher Marva Collins, whose "personal courage and tenacity" have helped open new intellectual horizons for low-income children; and David A. Stockman (public service by an individual 35 or younger) for helping shape the Reagan administration's tax-reduction program.
Honored for outstanding service to local communities were:
* Hank Adams of Olympia, Wash., who for 20 years has called attention to Indian issues and converted public interest into political action.
* Irene Auberlin of Detroit, whose aid to a Korean orphanage in 1953 spawned World Medical Relief Inc., which has distributed more than $250 milliom worth of medical supplies around the world.
* David Crockett of Atlanta, who helped develop and manage a dispute-resolution center to head off costly and combative litigation.
* Homer Fahrner of Sacramento, who organized Senior Gleaners Inc., to salvage wasted or destroyed edible food for the poor and elderly.
* Noey Somchay of Chicago, a Laotian refugee who started a program for Hmong tribe members that teaches them English and other skills.
The institute also presented a special award to retiring Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart for "pursuing the cause of justice with rigorous integrity, unfailing objectivity, and a brilliant knack for cutting through the law's c omplexities and pomposities."