Yesterday, at our annual Archivist’s Achievement Awards ceremony, we celebrated Public Service Recognition Week by recognizing staff across the country for their exceptional contributions to the mission of the agency.
In my remarks, I said:
As you have heard me say before: for me every week of the year is Public Service Recognition Week because I am so proud of the work that you all do across our agency in service to the American people. Whether you are redacting pages from a service record in St. Louis, or refiling an IRS return in Lenexa, or helping someone navigate the FOIA process, or connecting someone with their family history, or ensuring that our staff and users are safe, or restoring a deteriorating film, or ensuring the a First Lady’s correspondence is accounted for, or educating a school group about how our government works, or safeguarding NARA holding from leaks, condensation, and frost problems, or doing any one of the hundreds of tasks the comprise the work of the National Archives—thank you for your passion and commitment to our mission.
Since 1985, the first week of May has been set aside to honor the men and women who serve our nation as Federal, state, county, and local government employees. In this year’s proclamation, President Obama writes:
“Our Nation’s progress has long been fueled by the efforts of selfless citizens who come together in the service of their fellow Americans to change our country for the better. At the birth of our Nation, our Founders fought to secure a democracy that represents the people, and the civil servants who pour everything they have into making a difference are the individuals who keep that democracy running smoothly and effectively. During Public Service Recognition Week, we honor those who dedicate themselves to ensuring America’s promise rings true in every corner of our country, and we recommit to upholding the values they fight for every day.”
“Throughout this week, we recognize the tireless efforts of the women and men who strive to make ours a government that stays true to its founding ideals. With 85 percent of the Federal Government jobs located outside the Washington, DC area, our Federal workers…play key roles in ensuring the voices of the American people are heard. And even in the toughest of circumstances, including a politics that does not always fully recognize the value of their work, our public servants—often at great personal sacrifice—continue striving to build a better country and to bring lasting change to the lives of ordinary people across America.”
“Serving the public is not just a paycheck—it’s contributing to the steady effort to perfect our Union over time so our democracy works for everyone. This week, let us embrace the hopeful spirit that embodies the extraordinary work of our civil servants. It is the same spirit that built America, and because of the hard work of compassionate and determine public servants, it will continue to build us up for generations to come.”
More than 50 nominations were submitted for this year’s awards. 144 NARA staff were recognized for their individual or group accomplishments ranging from improving employee engagement to volunteer service to citizen archivist to information technology quality assurance to reduction of declassification backlogs to customer service to a Presidential Library digital pilot project to helping a record number of researchers to safeguarding records at risk to creating a training program for archives technicians eligible for promotion, for example. The ceremony was broadcast to our sites across the country and staff enthusiastically celebrated the accomplishments of their colleagues—a true One NARA event! I am so proud of this staff.