Boats, robots and a mini C-17 all in one place can only mean one thing- the 3rd Annual Federal Agencies Expo!
The Expo provides local federal agencies with the opportunity to explain the services they provide to Lowcountry citizens. The event was held May 5th at Fort Sumter National Monument at Liberty Square and celebrates Public Service Recognition Week, which honors the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees.
“Thank you,” said Mayor John Tecklenburg, City of Charleston, in his keynote kickoff speech. “Thank you for your service, thank you for your impact to Charleston’s economy and thank you for your partnership with us as we serve our brothers and sisters.”
Tecklenburg was followed by the National Park Service performing a historic weapons firing demonstration in front of dozens of wide-eyed children.
Nearly 25 federal agencies proudly presented their displays explaining their agencies, missions and jobs to the local citizens, students and visiting tourists that attended. The agencies ran the gamut from protecting citizens to deepening harbors to providing passports.
The Department of State hosted a passport fair which gave citizens the option to expedite the renewal of an expired passport or submit an application for a new one without having to make an appointment or pay the expedited fee for this level of service, saving $60. They received 25 applications and provided application forms and passport information to another 137 visitors.
SPAWAR had a dancing remote controlled robot and the 841st Transportation Battalion used a large map with three-dimensional ships and trucks to show the layout of their operation. The National Park Service had a trivia wheel and a large map of the country with every national park, monument and historic site and guests could place stickers on their favorite site. The Charleston District showcased their GIS capabilities used during the Post 45 Harbor Deepening and beach renourishment projects.
“The Corps is dedicated to being open and transparent with the public and this expo gives us the chance to showcase how our projects help the community,” said Joe Moran, Chief of Operations. “We’ve participated every year and the event just gets better each year.”
A vacant field across from Liberty Square housed several vehicles and big equipment, which is always a big draw for crowds. The U.S. Coast Guard had a survey vessel that attendees were able to climb into and walk around. People were able to sit in the cockpit and cargo area of the mini C-17 airplane that the 315th Airlift Wing brought and the Joint Base Charleston Fire Emergency Services hooked up one of their fire trucks so that attendees could spray the fire hose.
This year, several schools, with nearly 200 students, were in attendance to learn about the different STEM and career paths federal employees have taken to get to where they are today. Federal employees talked with students about the positive impacts of a federal career in hopes they may become public servants one day.
“My time here today was wonderful,” said Kayla Wilson, student. “I loved the Navy booth and I am considering joining after high school.”
The Charleston area boasts more government employees than any other city in South Carolina, with close to 10,000 government employees living and working in the tri-county area. All of these public servants strive to provide the best service possible to Lowcountry citizens every day and the Expo gives federal employees the opportunity to share these services with their community members.