A New Perspective on Service

Jesse Davis

Perspective is one of the great blessings of grief. We lost my dad this past January. His passing was not easy, and it came far too early. But as difficult as it was to experience, his death has given me a renewed perspective on the life of service he led, and that others like him still lead.

My dad worked at the City of Denton Water Plant for 25 years, purifying our drinking water. He didn’t take the job because he loved water chemistry, but because his young family needed the money and the benefits were good. His service fed, clothed, and housed us. It provided health insurance that covered sickness, surgeries, and childhood injuries, dental insurance that covered braces for teenage teeth, and a pension that saw him through his final days.

Of course, he grew to enjoy the work and excel at it. He loved the challenge of exact specifications. In the days before computerization, he could dial in the filtration and chemical treatments better than anyone. His department won several quality awards. But he served our community quietly, and never sought praise.

My dad was drafted into the U.S. Army in the early 1970s. It wasn’t his first choice, but like so many young men, when his number came up he reported as ordered. He trained as a medic and was assigned to a counseling detail helping the soldiers coming home. I never heard him complain once about being drafted, the comrades he lost, or his youth spent on the Army’s plans instead of his own. He felt proud to have served, happy to have helped people, and blessed to come home to his family.

Of course, my dad was a superhero to my siblings and me. But most of the time he was a regular guy, doing what regular guys do—providing for his family, serving his community, and stepping up when called upon.

Thankfully, Denton is full of people like my dad. More than 1,600 in fact, who work at the City of Denton. Many more who work for Denton County or another public entity. Some of them run into burning buildings or fight bad guys to protect us. But others serve every day in less visible, less recognized ways. They work hard in jobs most of us couldn’t begin to understand, much less do ourselves—even jobs that we might not know exist.

We benefit daily from the work these folks do. So, let’s have a little perspective, and be mindful of the debt we owe our public servants. Let’s support them as they support us, and make sure they know we appreciate them. As often as we can, in big ways and small ones, let’s adopt a posture of gratitude for their work.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me on these issues and any others before the Denton City Council. You can reach me by email at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you, and I’ll see you around town!