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 three stories of public employees committed to servicing their community:

Baton Rouge teacher raising $2,000 to build library for students by Jessica Knox. Neil Herbert, a high school English teacher in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is raising funds to build a library in his classroom. Concerned about the reading level of Louisiana students, he is seeking funds to add more adult-reading-level books because he feels it’s the easiest way to prepare students. “I would like to raise as much as people are willing to give because I will spend every penny of it on books, we have kids that are asking for books and I don’t have them to give” Herbert explained. “I want to fill my four and a half empty bookshelves with books that my students will love, with books that they can see themselves in, with plots that when they tell each other about what they read, kids are going to be like, I’ve got to read that. If we can get kids to enjoy reading and to think of it as something fun, then we’ve done our job right.” 

Retired state troopers suiting back up to serve their communities by Kelsey Souto. As law enforcement and other public agencies are feeling a pinch in recruiting new employees, retired state troopers in Kentucky are stepping up to fill the void. In Kentucky, recent retirees that have 20 years of service and haven’t been retired for more than five years can participate in the trooper “R” program, which allows them to leave retirement, and again serve their communities. In Pikeville, Kentucky, two recently retired officers are returning to their patrols. Trooper Michael Coleman, a public affairs officer with the Kentucky State Police, commented, “The recent tragedy in Floyd County and the flooding here in eastern Kentucky, seeing the people are out here and they need help. When you have a calling and you feel like you’re that person, it’s hard to sit by and not do anything.”

Sayreville Police Department volunteer at Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen by Charlie Cangialosi III. For the second time, police officers from the Sayreville, New Jersey Police Department have volunteered their time at the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Kitchen. More commonly known as the JBJ Soul Kitchen, it is a community kitchen restaurant that has no prices and instead requests donations. The three police officers who volunteered were Lt. James Novak, Sergeant Angela Moat, and Officer Charlie Teator. “The JBJ Soul Kitchen is so different than a soup kitchen. Every time we go we get inspired to do more to help in our community. This second time was no different,” Lt. Novak said. “While I have never met John Bon Jovi, I have to believe he has an incredible heart. A person who can come up with this idea and support it both financially and physically (He is often spotted there washing dishes) has to be a genuine caring person.”