Federal employees make a difference every day

  • By David Epstein
  • Saturday, May 19, 2018 12:02pm
  • Opinion

Public Service Recognition Week 2018 was May 6 to 12. As President of the Juneau chapter of NARFE, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, I would like to take a few moments to explain a few of the things the federal workforce does for you.

Some of the myriad duties federal employees perform every day touch you directly. To exemplify this, consider the various federal agencies your family members from down south will be served by during a summer visit to Alaska. For starters, they might drive to the airport on a road or highway that was designed and constructed to structural and safety standards developed by Federal Highway Administration engineers.

They depart from a facility designed and built with federal airport improvement dollars, but not before going through Transportation Security Administration screening to ensure the safety of their flight. Your family’s aircraft is guided throughout its journey by Federal Aviation Administration air traffic controllers using complex equipment (some of which was developed in Alaska) maintained by the agency’s skilled technicians. The plane itself must meet exacting federal airworthiness standards.

Once your family arrives, you might all go to the Mendenhall Glacier to take in the splendor of Juneau’s principal icon. The safety and enjoyment of your experience is assured by employees of the U.S. Forest Service. Going on a fishing charter? You might want to check the weather and maritime forecasts. This is made possible by the National Weather Service.

Your safety and security while out on the bounding main is the responsibility of the U.S. Coast Guard. After your family goes home and writes a thank you letter, it’s delivered to you by the U.S. Postal Service. All the while, brave men and women in the U.S. armed forces protect our cherished liberties.

I retired from the FAA in 2009 after having completed a 33-year career. As an active federal employee, I was proud to serve the American public. I’m pretty sure all other members of the federal community, as well as our fellow public servants in state and municipal government, share that sense of pride in their respective agencies.

So, if you know, or are a friend or relative, of a public service employee or retiree, civilian or military, please take a moment this week to tell him or her, “Thank you for a job well done!”


• David Epstein is a Juneau resident who was employed by the FAA service from 1976 to 2009. He currently works for Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities. He is the president of Juneau Chapter 2088 of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.


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