Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Public Employees Go Above and Beyond Duty

Here are a Few Ways Public Employees Go the Extra Mile to Aid Communities

TEXPERS Staff Report

Each month, TEXPERS searches the internet for stories of Texas public employees going the extra mile to help their communities.

Check out what we found this month:

State employee weathers hurricane to assist youth

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services recently recognized a South Texas Child Protective Servi

ces caseworker with the agency's Shelter From the Storm Award.

The caseworker, Jordan Pratt, received the award for helping a former foster youth during Hurricane Hanna, according to the agency's Aug. 11 Facebook post. According to the post, the former foster youth reached out to Pratt, who discovered the youth was in an unsafe living situation. Despite the hurricane, Prat helped the youth relocated to a safe place.

"His efforts to go above and beyond to ensure a youth's safety make us #ProudtoProtect!," the department posted to its Facebook news feed.

Quick thinking by off-duty police officer helps officer from another city apprehend violent criminal

The City of Pharr recently honored police officer Gerardo Gonzalez for potentially saving the life of an officer from another city.

According to an article on Officer.com, Gonzalez was off duty on Aug. 18 driving to San Antonio with his wife and son for a fam
ily vacation. As the family passed through the City of George West in Live Oak County, Gonzalez noticed a George West police officer's car with its lights on. A George West police officer was trying to detain a man suspected of stealing a vehicle, according to the Officer.com report. 

As he drove by, Gonzalez noticed observed the lone police officer had his stun gun drawn and had discharged the cartridges while attempting to apprehend the suspect. Gonzalez turned his vehicle around to assist the George West officer. The suspect managed to take possession of the George West police officer's gun. Gonzalez de-escalated the situation by managing to remove the magazine out of the gun and discharging the last round into the ground, he told officer.com.

A post on the Pharr Police Department's Facebook news feed features an electronic billboard posted by an auto dealer praising the officer for his quick action while off duty and includes the hashtag #hometownhero. 

Firefighters head to California to help battle wildfires

Recently, 56 fire departments in Texas have deployed roughly 190 firefighters, 50 fire trucks and 10 command vehicles to assist the state of California beat back wildfires. That is in addition to 44 firefighters, 10 fire trucks and two command vehicles previously sent to California last month, according to a report on KVUE ABC's website.

Crews from Austin, Bexar County, Canyon Lake, Kyle, Lake Travis, North Hays County, Oak Hill, Round Rock, Saint Hedwig and San Antonio are among the areas where departments have dispatched crews to California. 

Twenty-nine wildries have been reported, spreading for more than 4,800 square miles, so far, from the Oregon border to Mexico. According to the Sept. 11 KVUE report, 19 people have been killed and at least 4,000 structures have burned in California.

A Sept. 11 Twitter thread by the Kyle Fire Department, features a photo of the crew it was lending to cause.

Tell us About Public Employees You Know

Do you know of a public employees that has gone above and beyond their duties in contributing to their local communities? Let us know about them in the comments section below.

Essential Roles in Our Communities

Public employees fill an essential role in our Texas communities. Law enforcement and firefighters protect lives and property. Municipal workers repair our streets, maintain parks, assist library patrons, and ensure that our water is safe to drink. Educators help our children grow into adulthood.

Those are just a few examples of the critical jobs public employees do for us. Some jobs are dangerous. Others receive little thanks. Many involve backbreaking work. But most are done with a dedication to the greater good that's often unmatched in the private sector.

Many public employees, like the ones we've highlighted this month, often go the extra mile to contribute to their communities. TEXPERS urges you to go the extra mile in return and ask your local and state governments to ensure public employees receive their promised benefits.

To learn more about public pensions, visit our website at www.texpers.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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