True pub­lic ser­vice makes a dif­fer­ence

The Wichita Eagle (Sunday) - - Opinion - BY KRIS ROGERS

WE UN­DER­STAND THE VALUE OF PUB­LIC SER­VICE FOR OUR­SELVES PER­SON­ALLY AND FOR OUR COM­MU­NITY. THIS DUAL IM­PACT IS THE ESSENCE OF TRUE PUB­LIC SER­VICE.

Com­mit­ment and col­lab­o­ra­tion. These are the build­ing blocks of pub­lic ser­vice. Lynn and I first learned their value in the ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties of our youth. His ser­vice be­gan in earnest with our lo­cal el­e­men­tary school’s par­ent/teacher as­so­ci­a­tion, de­vel­oped into an in­vest­ment on the school board, led him to the state Se­nate, and now he has the honor of serv­ing as the next lieu­tenant gov­er­nor of Kansas.

We learned to live out the val­ues of com­mit­ment and col­lab­o­ra­tion in our neigh­bor­hood in Wi­chita. We elected to stay rooted there, even though we were of­ten urged to move some­where “big­ger and bet­ter.” In­stead, we built a life here with those also com­mit­ted to ser­vice.

To­gether, we built read­ing lofts for our neigh­bor­hood school, put play­ground equip­ment in our lo­cal park, fed and trans­ported ath­letes and schol­ars, sent chil­dren and teens to sum­mer camp, vol­un­teered in our mu­se­ums, picked up trash along the river and in pub­lic spa­ces, fed the hun­gry and cheered those par­tic­i­pat­ing in the many races that course through our streets. We con­trib­ute con­sis­tently to or­ga­ni­za­tions that make a dif­fer­ence — men­tor­ing pro­grams, our pub­lic TV and ra­dio sta­tion, the li­brary, mu­se­ums, foun­da­tions, cre­ative en­deav­ors and churches.

In the process, we gained more than we gave. We have made friends from all walks of life, teach­ing us true em­pa­thy and an un­der­stand­ing of how life works for oth­ers. We ex­pe­ri­enced the pos­i­tive im­pact of suc­cess­ful projects, the im­por­tance of shared goals and the need to cel­e­brate progress. We un­der­stand the value of pub­lic ser­vice for our­selves per­son­ally and for our com­mu­nity. This dual im­pact is the essence of true pub­lic ser­vice. It is not sim­ply about per­sonal giving. True pub­lic ser­vice makes a dif­fer­ence.

It’s in the spirit of giving back that Lynn and I ask you to join our Day of Ser­vice on Jan. 12, ahead of the Kelly-Rogers in­au­gu­ra­tion on Jan. 14. There are or­ga­nized ser­vice projects across the state. You can join one, cre­ate one in your own neigh­bor­hood or sim­ply do­nate re­sources to your fa­vorite project or or­ga­ni­za­tion.

We would be hon­ored for you to join us in serv­ing our com­mu­ni­ties. Ser­vice is the foun­da­tion of Laura Kelly and

Lynn’s mis­sion in the gov­er­nor’s of­fice. It is fit­ting to be­gin the in­au­gu­ra­tion cel­e­bra­tions by serv­ing oth­ers.

In Wi­chita, Lynn and I are join­ing the Kansas Food Bank on Satur­day, Jan. 12, fill­ing back­packs for stu­dents who strug­gle with weekend food in­se­cu­rity be­gin­ning at 10 a.m. We will be at the new Ad­vanced Learn­ing Li­brary col­lect­ing shelf­stable meals for the Wi­chita Fam­ily Cri­sis Cen­ter to sup­port fam­i­lies strug­gling to end pat­terns of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence, be­gin­ning at 1 p.m. We would be hon­ored to work be­side you for the good of oth­ers at this piv­otal mo­ment in our own lives.

We believe in the value of pub­lic ser­vice. We must en­cour­age it, to­day and ev­ery day.

Kris Rogers is a men­tor, ed­u­ca­tor, mother, grand­mother, and wife of Lt. Gov­er­nor- elect Lynn Rogers.

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