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Editorial: Public Works Appreciation Week

All across the county, communities will observe National Public Works Week during the third week of May. Thousands of men and women build and maintain the infrastructure and services that make our daily lives safer, more convenient and more beautiful.

This is a gentle reminder to our villages, special districts and town to make a special effort to recognize their efforts, sacrifices and contributions to everyone.

Some communities take the opportunity to teach school children and families about some of the things that public works employees do and the skills necessary to fulfill them. One municipality had an open house where they held tours of the sewage treatment plant while another demonstrated the mobile van that has a camera that “spots” blockages in sewer lines.

The City of Grants Pass, Oregon gave kids of all ages a chance to climb aboard the entire fleet of trucks, backhoes, and garbage trucks. Evidently, riding the street sweeper was a big hit.

Another had the city council members wear public works T-shirts and shadow their employees for a day in order to have a better idea of all their hard work.

Many of the events feature food. Some simply sponsor a picnic with food and games. One had a rib cook-off contest. There are plenty of ideas for creative, educational events. Evidently, municipalities start rather small and with success expand their activities over the years.

The American Public Works Association website has a guide for communities that are getting started in creating events to honor these men and women and highlights communities that participate.

As local governments strain to maintain services and keep budgets under control, it is probably fair to say, that our public works employees are doing more with less.

What can you do as a citizen? At the very least, you can drop an email or letter to your village, town or special district’s administration praising the good work you notice around you in our parks, streets and byways.

The Record would be pleased to print copies of these letters and would also run photographs of public works employees being honored by their employers.

Let’s take time to be grateful for the people who take care of the ins and outs of our community on a daily basis and who provide a safety net and support during times of crisis...hurricanes, microbursts, blizzards, oh my.

-Carol Frank