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Celebrate public servants

To the editor:

I worked for more than 30 years as a federal employee, proudly serving my country first repairing shipboard electronic equipment and then later as a safety specialist and manager trying to ensure that other federal employees had a safe work area. During this time, many of us sometimes worked through lunch or after regular work hours to complete a task. This was done with no additional benefits from our country.

Federal employees serve and protect us every day at every level across the country and in our community. At no time was this more evident than during the 35-day partial government shutdown earlier this year.

From ensuring safe air travel to regulating new medicines to maintaining a safe food supply to processing Social Security checks, civil servants are everywhere, yet invisibly so. And, contrary to popular belief, 85 percent of the federal workforce is located outside of Washington, D.C.

When natural disasters strike, they provide relief and help us rebuild. When mass shootings take place, they enter harm’s way and care for the wounded. And, when once-eradicated viruses reappear, they investigate public health crises. Whether they are in the public eye or active behind the scenes, civil servants take pride in working for something bigger than themselves.

At a time when the image of civil servants is unfairly tainted, and the idea of a career in public service is not on the minds of young professionals, it’s imperative that we recognize public servants and the noble profession of civil service. As we celebrate Public Service Recognition Week, let’s thank a federal employee for keeping our country running safely, efficiently and for the good of the American people.

Colton Brooks
Virginia Beach