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Posted 8/5/2015

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By Sean McBride
Charleston District

It literally took tropical storm-level rain to shut down the inaugural Public Service Recognition Week Exhibition on May 7th at Liberty Square in downtown Charleston. But rain or shine, federal employees do their job, so weeks of hard work and planning weren’t going to be deterred by a few sprinkles.

The exhibition was held as part of the City of Charleston’s Public Service Recognition Week, proclaimed by Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. “to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of government employees at all levels- federal, state, county and city- as they make life better for all they serve.” This powerful public outreach opportunity provided an excellent platform to educate the public about the missions of approximately 25 federal and military agencies in the Charleston area while promoting the organizations’ value to the public. This was the first time federal agencies in the Charleston tri-county area came together in a joint outreach event.

As the rain began to fall outside the Fort Sumter National Monument, Rep. Mark Sanford kicked off the day with a speech about his public service and how important public servants are to the country. This was followed by a welcome from Bryan Derreberry, CEO of the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, and the U.S. Postal Service’s unveiling of a new commemorative stamp of Maya Angelou, which was kept on display.

Along with the other agencies, the Charleston District showcased their capabilities and duties to Charleston citizens for the next few wet hours. Each agency set up a booth with some of the more unique equipment that enables them to do their job serving the public. For instance, SPAWAR and the 628th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight both showed off their robots. The Naval Consolidated Brig and U.S. Department of Homeland Security wooed everyone with their trained dogs. The Charleston Air Force Base Fire Department laid out all of the equipment a firefighter has to wear. The Coast Guard towed in two of their survey and rescue vessels.

“The tri-county area boasts nearly 10,000 government employees,” said Capt. Marvin Jones, commanding officer of the Naval Health Clinic and military co-chair of the Federal Executives Association, who organized the event. “Today, you can see how we keep the Lowcountry safe, care for our citizens and veterans, protect our borders, defend our nation and repair aging infrastructure. Together we make the tri-county area stronger and enrich the lives of all who live here.”

Recently, President Obama said, “a government of, by, and for the people is only sustained through hard work and extraordinary sacrifice of millions of citizens willing to serve the country they love.” The Charleston District is just one of dozens of agencies working to improve the lives of South Carolina residents for years to come… even in the rain.