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Quite often we criticize certain of our public institutions, agencies and other entities that are paid for by you.
I know that I certainly do and hope to continue doing.
There are, however, many largely unsung public sector groups that do great work and I would like to acknowledge at least some of them and, most of all, the dedicated people who make this work possible. I do so in no order of preference or standing. All are worthy of equal and high accolades.
Here then are a few of the groups and people who, day in and day out, work on our behalf, performing valuable services to this community.
Our hospital workers come to mind. I speak specifically of those who cook the meals, clean the rooms, make the beds and keep the various medical care facilities going so that our doctors, nurses and medical support staff can, in turn, do their work.
In 1988, I listened to Jesse Jackson, from the Democratic Party convention in Atlanta, speak eloquently to the people who, as he said, ‘ride the early bus and make the bed that you sleep in.” He hit it out of the park with this remark.
They are never seen seeking the attention that less worthy public sector benefactors may be witnessed doing regularly. No, they simply go to work and do for us what we are then incapable of doing for ourselves.
Next, the home-care workers who likewise on a daily basis, each with heavy caseloads, travel from home to home, assisting the elderly and the infirm.
They handle personal care and assist in cleaning the homes of their clients.
I have looked at their schedules and, quite frankly, do not know how they manage to accomplish all of what they do in a single day.
Through it all, they develop friendships with those they serve and are welcomed, not as workers, but very much as guests and the friendly face one likes to see coming through one’s door.
How about our ambulance attendants.
We have among the best trained and able ambulance personnel in North America.
On several occasions, like many of you, I have seen them in action and all of them are able medical personnel.
Then there are all of the workers — nurses, attendants, cooks, social workers, cleaners and maintenance personnel who work in our Homes for Special Care. Working in these homes — and they’re homes, not facilities to all who know them — requires special people. Training for a specific job will not alone do it in these settings.
They are staffed by people who invariably do the “little extras” that make big differences.
They become friends to residents and their families. They share their times of fun, as well as sadness.
There are few words, certainly of mine, that can best describe the degree of service and devotion that is exemplified in the actions of these people.
Any commentary on the positive aspects of public service and those who provide that service must include those persons who work with those addicted to alcohol or other drugs, those suffering the ravages of mental illness or those who have fallen between society’s cracks in some other way.
In terms of an agency that is truly there to serve the needs of our local public is there one better than the Regional Housing Authority.
Ask a senior who, on a fixed income, is looking for accommodations. Ask the single mother, unable to afford rent in a private apartment. On goes the list.
Regional Housing makes every accommodation and pursues every opportunity to meet the needs of all while fulfilling its administrative responsibilities.
Allow me to relate a personal account in this regard.
Last week, I called the Regional Housing office in order to try to assist a friend, down on her luck, find an apartment in what one might call an emergency situation.
Their office, with every courtesy, consideration and effort, worked tirelessly to successfully do so.
That’s going the extra mile and that is what all of these public servants — hospital workers, homecare workers, ambulance attendants, Homes for Special Care personnel, those who help the addict, Regional Housing Staff — do regularly and largely without the acclaim sought by others who delight in basking in the glow of conjured public acclaim.
The real leadership in this community comes from them, and not the feeble offerings provided by career politicians and their hangers-on.
David Delaney resides in Albert Bridge. He can be contacted at [email protected].