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.

ACTS to graduate six teams this Saturday by Lloyd Jones. Public employees wear all sorts of uniforms and while most walk on two legs, some walk on four. On July 24, six service dog teams graduated from the Assistance Canine Training Services (ACTS) program in Conway, New Hampshire. Of the graduates, there was a service dog team, an explosive detective dog team, a facility dog team, and three facility dog for education teams. One of the dogs, Flora, is handled by Kimberly Krasowski, a licensed clinical mental health counselor and certified grief counselor at a Salem New Hampshire elementary school. Krasowski commented, “I have never been more excited for a school year to start. She will be touching the lives of 200-plus students and 60-plus staff. She will be working with students with a vast number of issues and her unconditional love, energy and excitement to perform will be life-changing for them.”

Scarred by COVID-19, survivors and victims’ families aim to become a force by Sheryl Gay Stolberg. As the coronavirus pandemic continues with the rapidly spreading COVID-19 delta variant, public employees are becoming advocates for those who have suffered through this painful time. Advocacy groups have sprung up across the country as they try to lobby Congress for a variety of issues surrounding the pandemic. Karyn Bishof, a former firefighter and a single mother from Boca Raton, Florida started the COVID-19 Longhauler Advocacy Project, a group that seeks to bring attention to the long-term effects of the disease. Bishof also helped form the Long COVID Alliance, which secured a bi-partisan victory when Representatives Donald Beyer Jr. (D-VA) and Jack Bergman (R-MI) introduced legislation authorizing $100 million for research on long-haul COVID-19, as well as education around the issue. 

Local Heroes: Kristina Kane keeps kids kindled by Bronwyn Fryer. At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, teachers across the country stepped up to ensure their students were getting the education they needed. In Vermont, Kristina Kane, a kindergarten-to-4th grade art teacher at Montpelier’s Union Elementary School, went above and beyond for her students. Since students were forced into online learning, Kane and a team made up of music, technology, and physical education teachers and guidance counselors brought weekly art lessons to some 450 students and their families. Kane commented, “I am trying to help them through this difficult time by listening and by communicating that we care about them. We want them to know that we support them are here for them.”

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