Public Service Recognition Week is May 1-7
By DeAnn Wandler, Special Contributor, In Public Safety
Public servants play an integral part in building a strong foundation for our nation’s advancement. People such as police officers, firefighters, sanitation crews, Social Security personnel, teachers and postal workers are the unsung heroes of our communities.
Our public servants pilot efforts to defend the homeland and care for veterans. They ensure elderly and disabled people get their Medicare benefits, protect our food and drug supplies, educate children and adults, and prevent epidemics.
Public servants are dedicated to a cause greater than their own personal ambition. Every day, they manage some of our society’s most urgent challenges.
The Public Employees Roundtable (PER), a coalition of government employee advocacy groups, started Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) in May 1985. PSRW helps the public better understand that public servants are our friends and neighbors who address our collective challenges here and abroad.
Since 1985, Public Service Recognition Week has been celebrated during the first full week in May. The weeklong festivities kick off on Sunday, May 1 with the Public Service 5k Run/Walk* in Washington, D.C. Proceeds from the race will benefit the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping civilian federal and postal employees through scholarships and emergency assistance.
We encourage you to participate in Public Service Recognition Week this year and share the good work of government employees across the country. Submit your photos to via social media using the “I ‘Heart’ Public Servants” and “I’m Proud to Serve Because” whiteboard templates to illustrate why you support public service and public employees. Be sure to use the following hashtags: #APU, #AMU, #PSRW, #HonorTheOath, #Proud2ServeUSA, #ServiceNeverEnds.
To support PSRW, American Public University System (APUS) created a blog series to honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees. Here are some of the many public servants within our university family who are dedicated to serving the public. Please check back daily to read new profiles about individuals who have dedicated their lives to serving the public.
Mayleka HicksAmerson served 14 years in the U.S. Navy. Now, she works in human resources, helping fellow veterans find employment. “There is no greater feeling than giving back,” she says. Read about Mayleka’s career as a public servant.
Mason Pooler has been a firefighter and paramedic for 17 years. “Recently, we installed 350 smoke alarms in a neighborhood that has had the most fires in our city … Experiencing the gratitude of those families was amazing,” he says. Read about Mason’s career as a firefighter.
Keith Graves has been a police officers for 28 years. “It’s imperative that every officer be the best he or she can be, so citizens walk away with confidence in their police departments,” he says. Learn more about Keith’s career.
Daniel Hahn has been in emergency management for 10 years. “The best part of my job is communicating with the public. We need their help so our community can be ready for any type of disaster,” he says. Read about Daniel’s career.
Dena Weiss has worked in crime scene investigation for 25 years. “Those who have a passion for forensic investigation are drawn to it because we want to help the victims and their families find closure,” she says. Read about Dena’s service.
Merritt Kearns has worked in fire and emergency services for the last 24 years. “A career in the fire service allows me to help people in my community during their time of need,” he says. Learn more about Merritt’s career and his role as a faculty member at AMU.
Brian Meek has been a police officer for more than 24 years. “The most satisfying part of the job is making positive differences in people’s lives every day, regardless of whether or not this contribution is recognized or understood by others,” he says. Learn more about Brian’s police career.
Jordan Garza is a former corrections and police officer who also served in the military. “I understand the physical and mental barriers of the veterans I work with. That has helped me with assessing their needs,” he says. Read more about Jordan’s career.
Gary Minor spent 30 years in law enforcement. “It’s hard to pick any one moment or incident that exactly captures why I chose this career. It was really 30 years’ worth of small moments helping many people,” he says. Learn more about Gary’s career.
Liam O’Brien spent 30 years working in geospatial intelligence. “Those in geospatial intelligence help keep others safe by providing support to troops in war zones, helping with homeland security defense, or building alliances with partner nations.” Learn about Liam’s career.
Frank Hooton is a Lieutenant with the JOIC for the Texas Military Department. He provides intelligence analysis and coordination. “The most satisfying part of my job is helping make Texas—and the country as a whole—safer by providing good intelligence and enhancing awareness of threats,” he says. Learn more about Frank’s career.
David Robinson served in the U.S. Army for 22 years. He is now the Federal Financial Budget Analyst at the National Institutes of Health. “What public service means to me is that I can wake up every morning and know that I will touch the lives of millions of people with the work I do,” he says. Learn more about David’s career.
George Navarini has been involved in emergency management, as both a professional and a volunteer, for more than 40 years. “This career really gave me the ability to save lives and relieve people’s suffering after a disaster,” he says. Learn more about George’s career.
*American Public University System (APUS) is a proud sponsor of the Public Service 5k Run/Walk. APUS is also honored to partner with the Federal Managers Association (FMA) and Federal Employee Education and Assistance (FEEA) to jointly support federal employees’ career development goals.