Extraordinary Public Servants

Submitted by ASPA-NCAC Board member Dale Jones

Millions of public servants at local, state, and federal levels serve citizens every day across our nation. They provide necessary services, assistance, and protection for the American people. The work can be routine and it can be extraordinary.

On March 26, 2024, the Francis Scott Key Bridge over the Patapsco River in Baltimore collapsed after being crashed into by the Singaporean-flagged cargo ship Dali loaded with 4,700 containers. It is a historical national economic catastrophe. Two construction workers died, and four more are missing and presumed dead.

During the Key Bridge disaster, public servants performed with extraordinary service. According to the Wall Street Journal on March 30, 2024, a dispatcher at the Association of Maryland Pilots, a trade group, immediately acted with a call to the Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) and stated, “There’s a ship heading toward the Key Bridge. He lost steering. We need to stop all traffic on the Key Bridge.” Within approximately two minutes, public servants ranging from officials in the state’s Key Bridge office to MTA officers acted with urgency and precision to stop traffic on the bridge prior to the collision, which resulted in no vehicles traveling on the bridge when it collapsed. Thus, no others died in this tragic incident.

This is extraordinary public service.