Teachers, Firefighters, and Police Go Above and Beyond for Their Communities
By ALLEN JONES/TEXPERS Communications Manager
Each month, TEXPERS searches the internet for stories of Texas public employees going the extra mile to help their communities.
See what we discovered this month:
Dallas schoolteacher named Texas Teacher of the Year
Eric Hale, a public-school educator at David G. Burnet Elementary School in Dallas, was named the Texas Teacher of the Year during the recently held Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards Convention.
The convention was held virtually Sept. 30 – Oct. 2. The Texas Teacher of the Year program honors educators who demonstrate leadership and excellence in teaching. Hale is among six finalists in the state now representing Texas in the National Teacher of the Year program this spring, according to an article on CBS DFW Channel 11 News.
Hale used his own Facebook page to thank those who supported his nomination as Texas Teacher of the Year. In it, he says during his first-year teaching, he was “told I should try something else and that teaching wasn’t” for him.
According to the Dallas Independent School District, where he works, Hale is the first Black male to win Texas Teacher of the Year. A video on the district’s Twitter page show’s Hale’s reaction at being named Teacher of the Year.
Hale was profiled on in a segment of NBC’s “TODAY”, where he explained how his own childhood trauma has influenced his approach to teaching. During the segment, he said may be the first Black man to receive the recognition, but he is “not the first African American male teacher in Texas that deserved it.”
“So, it’s about the ‘we,’ not the ‘me,’” he said in the interview. “I’m sharing this award with all the other African American male teachers in the state of Texas.”
Police officers go pink for breast cancer awareness
This month, officers with the Bay City, Texas Police Department can be seen wearing pink badges in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign of the National Breast Cancer Foundation to increase public understanding of the disease.
To help kick off awareness in their city, the department posted a photo on Oct. 5 its Facebook page featuring several officers wearing their pink badges.
The City of Bay City is the county seat of Matagorda County.
Conroe firefighters help battle California wildfire
A second crew with the Conroe Fire Department is in California assisting with efforts to contain the Creek Fire, located Northeast of Shaver Lake in Fresno County.
The Conroe crew is in their second week in California, where the Cree Fire is reported to be 49 percent contained. It has burned more than 328,000 acres.
The Conroe crew is among more than 16,000 firefighters battling 22 wildfires in California, according to a Facebook post. On Oct. 7, the fire department posted 10 photos of the crew working to save lives and property.
Tell us About Public Employees You Know
Do you know of a public employee 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 is 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.
About the Author:
Allen Jones is the communications and public relations manager for the Texas Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems. He has been with the nonprofit professional organization since January 2017.