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April 22, 2011

Observances

Week to focus on contributions of public servants

Public Service Recognition Week is a time set aside to honor the men and women who serve the nation as federal, state, county and local government employees. It has been celebrated the first full week in May for the past 26 years.

Throughout the nation and the world, this occasion is used to educate others about the work done by public servants as well as the many ways government services make life better for everyone.
IMAGE: Public Service Recognition Week Logo

Public employees help the American people in many interesting ways. For example, did you know public servants:

Secure the nation
• William Friedman, a civilian employee of the War Department, ultimately deciphered the Japanese diplomatic code in World War II, thus playing a vital role in winning the war in the Pacific.
• More than 2 million public servants protect our nation through the armed forces.
• Dr. Eddie Bernard of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration created a tsunami-detection system that significantly increased the warning time before a tsunami hits land.

Improve health care
• Ninety-five percent of America’s children are protected against major disease through vaccines administered by public employees. Thanks to the government, polio and measles have been all but wiped out in the U.S.
• A government employee invented the plastic cornea, a discovery that has returned eyesight to thousands.
• The discoveries of Dr. Douglas R. Lowy and Dr. John T. Schiller of the National Cancer Institute inspired a vaccine for a majority of cervical cancers.
• A government employee invented the CAT scan, which helps physicians diagnose cancer, brain disorders and other diseases.
• Half of all U.S. medical doctors in practice today received training as government employees working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Help the homeless and poor
• Clara Barton’s spirit of compassion led this employee of the U.S. Patent Office to found the Red Cross, a world-renowned humanitarian organization caring for lives worldwide in times of emergency.

Invent new products that change lives
• Herman Hollerith, a U.S. Census Bureau accountant, invented the first modern computer.
• Agricultural Research Service researchers in New Orleans created flame-retardant clothing for firefighters and astronauts.
• Two employees of the National Institute of Standards and Technology invented the neon light.
• Employees of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have constructed many of our nations’ architectural masterpieces.

Forge the path to new frontiers and unlock the mysteries of the universe
• The first person to set foot on the moon, Neil Armstrong, was a public employee.
• In their search to unlock the mysteries of the universe, NASA scientists discovered the first Black Hole.

Public employees also:
• Educate our children
• Help the nation’s veterans and care for wounded Soldiers
• Investigate crime and prosecute criminals
• Keep food safe
• Negotiate international agreements
• Fight fires
• Develop new technologies for renewable energy
• Manage public parks
• Protect the environment
• Design and build roads and bridges
• Distribute financial aid to schools and students

Public Service Recognition Week is a great time to stop and thank the public servants you may know for their contributions to the nation!

(Information for this article is from the PSRW.org website.)

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