At the bottom of this post you’ll find two of the best retirement letters I’ve ever seen a supervisor write to their employees. But before that, I’ve shared my own diatribe on public service. I’ll understand if you skip the intro but I thought it might help to put into context what Ed and Willie have done for all of us in Kent over the last 25 years.
Public Service: An Honorable Profession
Problems can be tough. Customers can be frustrating; the work demanding; money tight; schedules unrealistic; weather conditions bad and gratitude rare.
So why do it?
That’s a question each person and the city organization has to answer together. It’s the “Why” that guides us through good times and bad. It’s our shared values.
Public service pulls us in thousands of directions but our values keep us heading due north. Values connect us to one another and to the community we serve. It’s our higher purpose that unites us no matter how different our uniforms, work hours or duties.
Daily aggravations and sacrifices grow smaller when we remember our “Why.” When we remember that we build and repair sewer and water lines because before we did more people died from dysentery than anything else. We remember that when roads aren’t safe, more mothers and children will die in car accidents. When storms rage, homebound grandmothers need help and city employees make sure it gets there.
Public service is a profession of people with such strong values that they are willing to put themselves into extreme situations because they care about people and put community needs first.
There’s a special pride knowing you’re the “line in the sand” between safety and harm for 30,000 people that call Kent home.
That’s why we do it.
And that’s why it’s so hard to say goodbye to two city employees that did it so well: Willie Wright and Ed Skoniecznv.
You may not know their names, but you know their work. They both represent the best of good government. I am honored to have served with them, and by them, here in Kent.
Thank you Willie. Thank you Ed. As Gene says below, “you will be missed.”