April showers bring May flowers, along with a whole host of other special days.
The month kicks off with May Day, and then keeps the celebrations and observances coming, with such holiday highlights as Cinco de Mayo, Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day.
Public servants are fortunate to receive not just one but seven days in this particularly jam-packed month. Celebrated every first full week of May since 1985, Public Service Recognition Week is a time set aside for honoring the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees.
This year, PSRW will be observed from Sunday, May 5, until Saturday, May 11, 2019, and there will be a variety of ways to mark the occasion.
How to celebrate Public Service Recognition Week
For over three decades, PSRW has been a time not only for ordinary Americans to thank public servants, but for public employees to educate citizens about the work that they do and the reasons that they have chosen public service careers. The program's stated goals include connecting with and educating citizens nationwide about the work of their government, improving the perception and morale of federal workers and other public servants and helping to inspire a new generation of public servants.
To that end, there are several PSRW events planned for this week in May, taking place in a variety of venues ranging from the steps of the Capitol building to some of the smallest towns in the country.
On Sunday, April 28, the festivities got a headstart in the form of the seventh annual Public Service Charity 5K/1M Run/Walk in National Harbor, Maryland. Over 500 runners, walkers and volunteers participated in the D.C. metro area event, raising money to support FEEA, the Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund's disaster relief, emergency hardship loan and scholarship programs.
And on Thursday, May 9, the finalists for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals will be announced. Named for the nonprofit, nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service's late founder, the "Sammies" are the Oscars of government service, awarded to exceptional federal workers who are making the government more effective.
Last year's honorees included Margaret Moeser of the Justice Department and Karen Dodge of the Federal Trade Commission, who led criminal and civil investigations that ultimately resulted in nearly $600 million in financial losses being restored to hundreds of thousands of people who were defrauded by money transfer scams. The massive settlement represented the largest forfeiture ever by a money services business.
The 2018 Federal Employee of the Year award went to Dr. Daniel Kastner, Scientific Director at the National Institutes of Health, who identified an entire new class of rare genetic diseases and treatments to help thousands of patients in the U.S. and around the world.
Similar events will take place all over the country, with various FEB Excellence in Federal Government Awards ceremonies scheduled to take place in multiple cities, ranging from Honolulu to Cincinnati.
In our nation's capital, public servants will also get to enjoy the national pastime. On May 14, the Washington Nationals will host National Federal Workforce Day, providing government employees with discounted tickets to that evening's game and featuring an on-field ceremony before the first pitch.
Local government agencies, Federal Executive Boards, military bases and schools are all encouraged to observe Public Service Recognition Week as well, and the official PSRW website has a Celebration Toolkit that can help you plan your participation. The online resources are designed to provide ideas and tools that can help individuals reach out to their community, local media and local educators to encourage everyone to show public servants the respect and appreciation they deserve.