“The Impact of Public Service” – by JustinThomson


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Public administrators work to improve a community and the welfare of its
community members. My experiences have not only led me to a career in

public administration but have shown me how a little effort in a

community can make a big difference.

During my undergraduate schooling, I received a job as a construction

supervisor and met a man who made a profound impact on my life. Dave and

his wife were participants in a mutual self-help program, Rural Housing

Development Corporation (RHDC). The program at RHDC assists low-income

families in achieving home ownership through their own sweat equity as

home builders. RHDC grouped together seven to ten families and the group

built each of the homes together. I was able to get to know this family

along with six other families over the course of twelve months as I

supervised the construction of their homes. I was able to gain a better

understanding of the problems that good families can face in their

efforts to become homeowners.

As Dave and I walked through his brand new home, I was reminded of a

construction problem we had faced in the cold, winter months in Utah.

The basement to Dave’s house was scheduled to be poured the next day but

unfortunately a snow storm was also expected. We had to protect the

ground to keep the work from halting. I quickly handed out assignments

and went to the store to purchase the tarps to cover the ground. Next I

picked up a propane furnace to heat the basement floor. The group

members then set up the heater, put up the tarps, and left hoping that

the concrete could still be poured. I made a midnight trek to the house

to switch the propane tanks that were fueling the heater. To my relief,

the tarps were working and the heat from the furnace was keeping the

ground warm enough for the fresh concrete. The next day we felt great

satisfaction as we learned that our efforts worked and that the basement

floor could now be poured. Knowing that without this program, most, if

not all, of the families would not be able to own their own homes made

the array of problems that I faced and the many hours I spent on the

project a life-changing experience.

This life-changing experience led me to pursue a Masters in Public

Administration. The knowledge and skills that I am learning will allow

me to make a greater impact on my community. With my previous

experiences and my current schooling, I know that I will be able to

succeed in a career in public service.

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