“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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