On May 19th, the Charleston District was one of more than 25 federal government agencies in the Charleston area who came together for the second annual Federal Agencies Informational Exhibition. Held at the National Park Service’s Liberty Square in downtown Charleston, the purpose of the event was to educate the public about the many ways the federal government serves the community and makes life better and safer for Lowcountry citizens.
The event was coordinated by the Federal Executive Association of the Greater Charleston Area, which is a compilation of more than 40 federal government agencies and military organizations in Charleston. Agencies present had displays highlighting their missions, programs and initiatives, and had employees present to interact with attendees and answer questions about their organization. The event was kicked off by a speech from South Carolina Deputy Secretary of Commerce Jennifer Fletcher and a historic weapons firing demonstration by the National Park Service.
“I want to thank each and every one of you for what you do,” said Fletcher. “One of the things the governor is most proud of is how we work in a team approach [and] all the federal agencies have played a pivotal role in what we do in South Carolina. No one agency can do your mission effectively without the support and collaboration of a whole number of different agencies.”
Several hundred people and several school groups stopped by the exhibition to learn about the roles of these agencies, many of which people don’t even realize have a presence in Charleston. Several agencies offered great information for the public leading into the summer months, including the Charleston Passport Center taking applications for passports and the Transportation Security Administration giving details on travel. In addition to the informational booths, several agencies had boats and survey vessels to show the public how they keep the harbor and waterways safe. There was even a mini C-17 airplane on display for the public to tour. The mini C-17 took more than two hours to assemble and is about a fifth of the size of a real C-17 Globemaster, but gave the public a good glimpse into a vehicle they normally wouldn’t see.
“The exhibition was all about showing the public some of the things the federal government does behind the scenes to make Charleston a better place,” said Glenn Jeffries, civilian co-chairman for the FEA. “There’s a strong presence of nearly 10,000 government employees in the Lowcountry and our goal is just to make sure the public knows we have their best interests in mind.”
The second annual Federal Agencies Informational Exhibition was a powerful public outreach opportunity that provided an excellent platform to educate the public about agency missions and promote their value to the public. The government and military have a strong presence in Charleston to keep citizens safe, care for veterans, protect our borders and repair aging infrastructure. Based on an exit survey, 100 percent of participants said the exhibition improved their knowledge of federal government agencies in Charleston and how they work together to make the community stronger and enrich the lives of everyone in it.