Public employees across the nation give back to their communities in extraordinary ways every single day. From donating to food banks to helping 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.

All of Haines’ emergency dispatchers caught COVID but stayed on the job to answer 911 calls by Corinne Smith. In Haines, Alaska, all three emergency dispatchers contracted COVID-19 simultaneously, but it didn’t keep them from volunteering to stay on the job. All three dispatchers decided to keep working, as they were well enough to do so. Haines, which is north of Juneau, only had one other person trained to perform the job of dispatching for the town of just over 1,000 residents. Haines borough manager Annette Kreitzer said, “First of all, these are essential workers,” she said. “You can’t just have someone walk in off the street and do police or fire dispatch, it just doesn’t work that way. And so what you need to try to do is figure out if they are feeling well enough to work. And if they are, then we need to quarantine them and make sure that they aren’t having any interaction with any other staff, and with the public. And so that was put into place.” After work, the public employees were instructed to return home and isolate themselves to help stop the spread of the virus. “We made it clear that this is your choice. You do not have to work. You know, it was up to them to volunteer to stay on and work through. And that’s what they did,” she continued.

Getting food to vulnerable seniors remains driving issue for Meals on Wheels program by Britt Kennerly. In Brevard County, Florida, the Meals on Wheels program, administered by Aging Matters in Brevard, delivered over 650,000 meals to seniors in 2020 and 2021, and teachers and students have been helping out. At Tropical Elementary School, located on Merritt Island, classes put together gifts for Aging Matters clients, including life necessities, and some are writing notes to seniors. Barbara Wilcox, a teacher at the school, has been teaching her kindergarten class kindness. “We discuss and acknowledge kindness on a daily basis and read kindness books,” she said. “For this project, since our grade level item is bar soap, we talked about why we need to give it. Some of the responses were: “So they can be clean … so they can take a bath … someone even mentioned ‘If they can’t get it, it is good we’re giving it to them.'”  Teachers continue to be incredible role models for children! 

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