To the Editor:

As a retired Federal Employee with 32 years of service I wish to take this time to show appreciation to all public servants, past and present. As recently as 2018, South Dakota had a total of 21,956 Active and Retired Federal and Postal employees.

Of that number 11,207 were Federal Annuitants, 8,716 Active Federal employees, and 2,033 United States Postal Service (USPS) employees. The largest employers were the Department of Veterans Affairs and the USPS. Other leading agencies included those in support of Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services, and Interior. Not to be forgotten are those who served in agencies that support: Commerce, Justice, Labor, Energy, Homeland Security, Transportation, and Treasury.

Federal employees provide vital services that benefit Americans every day, yet much of this important work goes unnoticed. We see them when hurricanes strike, floods destroy communities and pandemics spread worldwide. We know that they help land our planes safely and perform inspections to maintain a healthy food and water supply. But for every image you see on TV, thousands more work behind the scenes to keep this country running.

They process tax refunds, small business loans, stimulus payments, Social Security checks, and loans for college students. They track biological threats and alert Americans to treacherous weather conditions, among other critical and life-saving tasks.

COVID-19 is the latest crisis during which we expect our civil servants to work tirelessly and often around the clock. I take comfort in knowing that our country is fortunate to have dedicated professionals who continue to selflessly serve their fellow man all for the greater good.

Throughout the year, we should acknowledge their service. Last week, May 3-9 was Public Service Recognition Week. While we remain shuttered indoors to fight the invisible enemy among us, let's recognize and appreciate civil servants for what they truly are, the heartbeat of America.

Karen Jensen

Sioux Falls