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 two stories of public employees in service to their communities.

City employees volunteer with Habitat for Humanity by Sarah McDonald. Public Works employees in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, are giving back to their community as part of the city-wide initiative ‘One Team Week.’ Around 90 city employees lend their time and talents to Habitat for Humanity to build two houses for families in need. From pouring foundations to completing the finishing work, the city’s volunteers are essential to Habitat for Humanity’s success in providing safe and stable housing for local families. “Without volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to do anything. Volunteers are vital to our organization. We use them to build houses, we use them in our ReStore, and then we also use them in our neighborhood revitalization, so we are so thankful for any groups that want to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity,” volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sioux Falls, Brittany Bandstra said.

West Point teacher to volunteer in Ukraine by Lauren Serrato. West Point High School English teacher Michael Kopczak isn’t taking much of a break this summer–now that school is out, he is heading from Arizona to Ukraine to volunteer his services as an English translator. Kopczak, who is of Ukrainian descent, will spend five weeks overseas and plans to do as much as possible to assist aid organizations in the country, including military service if necessary. “It really means growing and helping the land of my ancestors,” he said. “My grandparents left during World War II and now it’s kind of coming full circle, another invasion of the country. I now have this urge to go back and help, it’s something important.” 

Residents get hands-on experience at annual firefighter event by Cameron Brewer. The Bismark, North Dakota Rural Figherfighters serve their community by saving lives and preserving public safety daily. However, one day out of the year, they get to do things a little differently and have fun instead. This year their annual Community Appreciation Day includes raffles, live music, a car show, and the opportunity for locals to get up close and personal with a firetruck and the firefighters themselves. “It’s something that feeds the soul and makes you feel good knowing that you made the change in the day, and so it’s why I enjoy doing it,” Bismarck Rural Fire Association Member David Antonelli said. “Typically, firefighters see citizens when they’re not having their best day. It’s good to get together and have a good day together and relax and enjoy the day.”

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