Public employees across the nation give back to their communities in extraordinary ways every single day. From donating to food banks to helping their neighbors and protecting their communities, public employees have always been there when their community needs them the most. 

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

Policing a pandemic: Wyo law enforcement by Dustin Bleizeffer. At the onset of the pandemic, public employees, including police officers, were still required to serve their communities. In Wyoming, and across the country, police officers put themselves in harm’s way every day. Even though officers wore personal protective equipment (PPE) while working, they still exposed themselves to the coronavirus and had to follow mandatory quarantine protocols. Rebekah Ladd, the Casper Police Department public information officer, commented, “They still have to go to work, they still have to have exposure. To be a police officer, you have to have that selflessness about you. But I think especially right now.”

Cobb teacher runs 50 miles in three weeks to see his students by Thomas Hartwell. Some teachers will run the extra mile to make sure their students receive the support they need. For Big Shanty Intermediate School teacher Bill McAllister, he did just that – literally. After schools shut down throughout Georgia and the nation last year, McAllister plotted a 50-mile route to see nearly all of the 48 students he taught last year. Not only did he plan these runs over three weeks, but for each mile he ran, he donated $5 a mile to a local non-profit that feeds families, MUST Ministries. McAllister commented, “I was running in my neighborhood and I was missing my kids, and I knew they were missing me … so it just kind of came together. It was one of those moments where I thought, ‘You know what? I’m running in my neighborhood, and I’m running in an empty Town Center Mall parking lot … why don’t I just run in my kids’ neighborhood?”

Florida teacher 3D prints dozens of face shields for healthcare workers by Daniela Hurtado. Last  April, healthcare workers across the nation were in great need of personal protective equipment. With dwindling supplies to protect themselves from COVID-19, many facilities and staff turned to the community for help. Manatee County School District technology teacher Adam Nowicki heeded that call. He started working with a single 3D printer, printing face masks for healthcare workers when his school district stepped in and donated four more printers, and he started producing dozens of masks a day. Nowicki commented, “The cool thing is when you do the right thing so many people are on board with it. It’s an easy sell when it’s the right thing to do.”

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