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May 2-8, 2021 Public Service Recognition Week

A version of this article was also published by Thrive Global.

Public Service Recognition Week is dedicated to honoring our public servants. This past year has been a time that we all truly depended upon public leadership during a prolonged crisis. During May and June, we want to encourage everyone to say thank you to the thousands of public servants in cities, towns, schools, states and the federal government who have worked tirelessly to implement communication, testing, tracking and vaccination systems under stressful circumstances while doing their pre-pandemic jobs.

The United States has found itself with a legacy dating back to the 70’s where public service has been vilified and seen as not a career choice parents encourage. The experience of the last 14 months has given us a picture of public servants whose expertise has been on full display. Those who moved to action and lead effectively drew down on their years of experience with; other pandemics or contagious diseases, organizing large scale responses to crises, existing networks of like kind professionals, their knowledge of labor contracts, federal, state and local public health systems and their willingness to do whatever it takes.

If you would like to host a celebration (virtually) to honor public servants this toolkit has great ideas for ways to honor those who serve even when we can’t be together in person to mark the occasion. There are even guides for teachers who would like to teach about public service and celebrate it with their middle or high school students, or for parents or caregivers to help the youngest citizens learn about who public servants are with projects here and here.

Anyone can share their appreciation from anywhere on social media with these pre-made templates that can share why you serve or why you want to thank a public servant. There is even a social media sticker you can post to your profile.

There are many virtual events scheduled for the week. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn about, recognize and celebrate public service. We offer our sincere appreciation to all of those who serve the public and we celebrate your tenacity, resilience and care for the well being of all citizens.

The National Archives has put together an extraordinary virtual exhibit for Public Service Recognition week on display now through the end of May with historic photos, letters and stories of public service across a variety of agencies, from a variety of perspectives. Do not miss the chance to see it.

“Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth.” Shirley Chisholm

“Two truths are all too often overshadowed in today’s political discourse: Public service is a most honorable pursuit, and so is bipartisanship.” Olympia Snowe

What We’re Reading This Month

Please share with young people who may be considering careers in the public service.

Neither Snow nor Rain, by Devin Leonard.  A History of the United States through the lens of the Postal Service. Founded by Benjamin Franklin, it was the information network that bound far-flung Americans together, fostered a common culture, and helped American business to prosper.  The United States Postal Service is a wondrous American creation. Seven days a week, its army of 300,000 letter carriers delivers 513 million pieces of mail, more than forty percent of the world’s volume.

The Bully Pulpit, Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft and the Age of Journalism       by Doris Kearns Goodwin  The gap between rich and poor has never been wider…legislative stalemate paralyzes the country…corporations resist federal regulations…spectacular mergers produce giant companies…the influence of money in politics deepens…bombs explode in crowded streets…These unnervingly familiar headlines serve as the backdrop for Doris Kearns Goodwin’s highly anticipated The Bully Pulpit—a dynamic history of the first decade of the Progressive era, that tumultuous time when the nation was coming unseamed and reform was in the air.

Public Sector Consortium can help you and your team develop sustainable leadership practices. Join us in re-inventing the practice of public leadership for the public good by taking a look at our website, viewing our resource library, or joining us for an online class in systems thinking. You can reach out to us at