Thank a government employee this week

This column was originally published on Jeff Neal’s blog,, and was republished here with permission from the author.

This is Public Service Recognition Week (PSRW) — a week set aside to recognize the work done by government employees at local, state and federal levels. Government employees do not get the thanks they deserve for the great work they do at every level of government. Instead, we see constant badmouthing of government workers, and politicians using them to make political points. Let’s try something different this week. Think about how government workers have supported you in your day-to-day life and where you can, say “Thank You” to them for what they do every day.

I will start with some “Thank You” PSRW greetings for government workers who I appreciate and I encourage everyone who reads this post to do the same.

Thank you to the Environmental Protection Agency. Because of the work of EPA’s dedicated team, we have cleaner air, more fuel efficient vehicles, an easy way of knowing how much energy our appliances and other devices consume (via Energy Star), and more. I am old enough to remember when some of our cities had so much pollution that breathing their air was the equivalent of smoking four packs of cigarettes every day. Thank you EPA.


Thank you to the professional staff of the House of Representatives and the Senate and the employees of the judiciary. When we think about the federal government, we typically think of the executive branch. There are two other equal branches of government that are necessary for our system to work. In addition to the judges, representatives and senators, the judiciary and the legislative branches have professional staff members who keep the institutions running. Without them, neither branch could get its job done. Thank you legislative and judicial branch employees.

Thank you to the civilian employees of the Department of Defense. DoD civilians include the logisticians at the Defense Logistics Agency, the men and women of the Navy Fleet Readiness Centers and Air Force Logistics Centers who repair and rebuild aircraft and engines, the shipyard workers, the HR specialists, the non-appropriated fund employees who run base recreational facilities, mission support professionals in HR, finance, IT, procurement and facilities and hundreds of thousands more. Thank you to the 700,000+ DoD civilians.

Thank you to the scientists, engineers, doctors and other researchers at the National Institutes of Health, the military laboratories, the Centers for Disease Control, the National Science Foundation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and every other scientific organization in government. Your quest for knowledge and the benefits you provide help everyone on the planet. Thank you to the researchers.

Thank you to the clerks and assistants in every agency at every level of government. You do not often get the recognition you deserve for the support you provide to your agencies and their customers. Your contributions may not be as visible, but agencies would not be able to get their jobs done without you. Thank you to the clerks and assistants.

Thank you to the men and women of our armed forces. Your sacrifice provides the security we need to maintain our way of life. Risking your life, spending months at a time away from your families, working long hours in tough and sometimes life-threatening situations, you are truly the guardians of freedom. Thank you to our American Armed Forces.

And while I’m at it, thank you to military families, who keep things going at home while our service men and women are away. They may not be public employees, but they are public servants and without them our armed services could not function. Thank you to military families.

Thank you to the diplomats. Whether appointees, career Foreign Service, or the people who support them, you represent America abroad, support economic development and are the face of America to other nations. You risk your life to do a vital job. Thank you to the diplomats.

Thank you to the law enforcement officers. You have some of the toughest jobs in government. You work long hours and risk your life to protect everyone else. You have tough jobs, but you continue to do them day after day, year after year. Our society depends on men and women like you. Thank you to the law enforcement officers.

Thank you to everyone else in government. Public service is more than just a job. For many public servants it is a calling — a way to contribute to our society every day. You may not be in one of the highly visible jobs, but we depend on you and your work. You make a difference every day, and most Americans appreciate what you do. Thank you to public servants everywhere.

Jeff Neal is a senior vice president for ICF and founder of the blog, Before coming to ICF, Neal was the chief human capital officer at the Homeland Security Department and the chief human resources officer at the Defense Logistics Agency.

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