Public Works Week is May 17 to 23 and has a different feel this year. This year’s theme “The Rhythm of Public Works” was set before the crisis.

In a way, it is appropriate. We handle things as they come as a symphony of essential services, working in concert to create a great place to live.

Every community has a rhythm that reflects its essence, tempo and quality of life. This year there is a danger present, an invisible one, that races the heartbeat of our community.

Whether it is communicating to our citizens with customer service or making sure the water and wastewater is healthy, the roads are safe,  and the parks are beneficial to our quality of life, public works’ responsibility is our community’s assets. We support essential services that allow the community to survive.

Things go down, we step up – 24/7/365. It’s what we signed up for. That’s what we do ... that’s what we have always done.

We are in the health, safety and people business – even during a pandemic.

Last year, all El Campo Public Works personnel, as part of the requirement to work for El Campo Public Works, were tasked with completing the basic FEMA ICS first responder training in order to be prepared for the inevitable emergencies that happen here along the Gulf Coast. The course taught protecting life, property and the environment with emergency response.

Public works does not do what they do for recognition – although it’s always nice when they are received.

Our partnership with police, firefighters and health care workers should in no way diminish the critical importance of other first responders. Getting our citizens back to their normal life ... and to do that in the most efficient way ... happens only if police, fire and public works work together.

Public works is charged with different duties during emergency situations and can be recognized by the Public Works First Responder symbol. It uses a design reminiscent of construction signs, safety cones and construction barricades.

We are more than anything we will face.

We can handle whatever obstacles come our way.

Always have, always will and always (are) ready.

That is the heart of public works!

– Kevin Thompson is the director of public works for the City of El Campo.

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