During the COVID-19 pandemic, public employees across the nation have given back to their communities in extraordinary ways. From donating to food banks to helping their neighbors and protecting their communities, public employees have been on the front lines.  

Here are stories of public employees in service to their communities.

Fayette County’s winter test results show growth at every grade level tested by Tom Kenny. Teachers across the country have continued to work hard to educate their students throughout the pandemic. At Fayette County Public Schools in Kentucky, students have shown growth in their recent testing – a true testament to the resiliency of teachers and school staff in the district. The test, the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), is given to elementary and middle school students three times a year. In a letter to parents of the district, Acting Superintendent Marlene Helm said, “We are grateful to our teachers and instructional teams for their creativity, stamina, and masterful ability to keep kids engaged and connect with families. We celebrate our support staff – especially those in food service, transportation, and maintenance – for their tireless commitment to serving students, families and colleagues.”

A simple call, or hug, may be cure for rampant loneliness by Lindsey Tanner and Martha Irvine. The coronavirus pandemic has been tough on Americans and people from all over the world. The lockdowns and the inability to see loved ones have shined a light on mental health and loneliness in our communities. As the pandemic continues, public employees continue to go above and beyond to ensure that people are taken care of. In a wide-ranging article for the Associated Press, Tanner and Irvine highlight programs worldwide that have helped combat the often secondary struggles associated with the pandemic. In Chicago, hospitals have implemented “friendly caller” programs that help seniors cope with being separated from their loved ones. Dianne Green, a senior who was on the receiving end of one of the calls from a nurse, Janine Blezien, said, “She wasn’t scripted. She seemed like she was genuinely caring. I called her my angel.” According to the social worker and manager of program innovation at Rush University Medical Center, Eve Escalante, the “friendly caller” program will expand to primary care and pediatric practices. 

Local resident to run 30 miles for coronavirus relief by Anthony Murray. At the onset of the pandemic last April, Alex Eisen, a 4th-grade teacher at John J. Daly Elementary School in New York, raised money for local hospitals by running 30 miles for his 30th birthday. An avid runner who has completed 11 marathons in 10 states, he raised almost $13,000 for New York University (NYU) Langone hospitals, particularly NYU Winthrop hospital. Eisen commented, “As a Mineola resident, Winthrop is my home hospital,” Eisen said. “They have helped me before. For my 30th birthday, I am making it my mission to help them and the rest of the NYU Langone family. During these unsettling times, we must look out for one another and support one another. I am a Liverpool F.C. supporter and our motto is ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’ I want to make sure our health care heroes know they will never walk alone during this pandemic.”

Be sure to check back next week for more stories of public employees giving back to their communities!