Public Service Recognition Week kicked off on Sunday, May 5. This week, celebrated since 1985, is a time to appreciate those who serve as federal, state, county, and local government employees, and it includes events and commemorations across the nation.
At Colorado PERA, we are honored to serve more than 600,000 current and former Colorado public employees every day by investing, managing, and distributing their retirement funds. PERA members include teachers, state workers, snow plow drivers, State Troopers, judges, prison guards, university professors, 9-1-1 dispatchers, and so many others who provide meaningful services that support and ensure the well-being of all Coloradans.
During Public Service Recognition Week, we want to highlight some of the exceptional work that public employees do and offer our profound gratitude for every public service member’s commitment and dedication to the state of Colorado. The following organizations are just a few of the many public entities whose employees work tirelessly to make Colorado a better place to live:
The school provides comprehensive educational services for children, from birth to age 21, who are blind/low vision and/or deaf/hard of hearing. The school’s staff delivers excellent academic programming to students and specializes in many services that help deaf and blind students reach their maximum potential. These include occupational therapy so students can function independently at school and at home; training for students and parents in the use of alternative communication devices, American Sign Language, speechreading, and language development; and helping blind/low-vision individuals navigate residential and urban areas by using canes and heightening their other senses and spatial awareness.
The Red, White, and Blue Fire District covers approximately 140 square miles in Summit County. They employ 58 people and respond to more than 2,000 calls per year for emergency medical services and fire-related incidents. Their staff is cross-trained to be firefighters and paramedics so they can respond to any call at any time of day. They also educate the public about wildfire prevention and preparation, CPR, car seat safety, cooking safety, and more.
This group is part of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. Its staff of 20, spread across eight offices in the mountains and foothills, produce weather and backcountry avalanche forecasts that keep skiers, local residents, and the general public informed and safe. The center partners with the Colorado Department of Transportation to provide training and forecasting for highway maintenance operations, and the staff teaches avalanche classes to students and avalanche workers, trains ski patrols, and leads rescue clinics.
There are currently five Veterans Community Living Centers in Colorado that serve honorably discharged veterans and their spouses or widows, as well as the parents of children who died while serving in the armed forces. These centers operate within the Colorado Department of Human Services and offer long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, assisted living, memory care services, respite care, and hospice services. Staff at these veterans centers care deeply about serving those who served our country and are committed to creating a welcoming, home-like experience for veterans and their families. They are also highly skilled medical professionals who are well equipped to meet the medical needs of residents.
The folks at Colorado Parks and Wildlife protect and care for the state’s wildlife, maintain our 41 beautiful state parks, and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation. They ensure that there is a balance between conserving natural habitats and creating areas where residents and visitors can explore Colorado’s diverse landscapes. The agency also issues hunting and fishing licenses, administers the state’s trail program, registers boats and snowmobiles, conducts wildlife research, assists landowners with wildlife and habitat management, and protects and recovers threatened and endangered species.
These examples provide only a small glimpse into what the public workforce contributes to Colorado every day. Everyone knows at least one person, and probably more than one, who has dedicated their career to the public sector, so take some time during Public Service Recognition Week to thank these individuals for their service. And if you’re a public employee yourself, we applaud you for your work!