The Doctor is Calling: Honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

mlkdayIn the darkest days of America’s struggle for equality, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood as a beacon of hope – reminding us of our common humanity and shared future, not our superficial differences. As a minister, activist, scholar, humanitarian and insatiable optimist, King meant a lot of things to many people; but perhaps above all, Dr. King was a visionary. He saw a better America, a brighter tomorrow – and for those of us fortunate enough to be members of the Federal workforce, we bring a part of Dr. King’s vision to work with us each and every day.

The Forest Service’s motto and sacred charge, Caring for the Land and Serving People, echoes this spirit of public service. Although tasked with ensuring future generations will have healthy and productive forests, and that the American people will benefit from the latest advancements in sustainable forest technology, we also take it upon ourselves to provide work, training, and education to the unemployed, underemployed, elderly, youth, and disadvantaged. We seek an inclusive and diverse force, where the underrepresented have a chance to engage their Federal forestry system, and help make our team, and America, increasingly stronger.

But serving the nation is not exclusive to Federal employees – every one of us can make a difference. If you’ve ever volunteered after work or school, or donated food to a local food bank for the holidays, you’ve made a difference. If you’ve ever helped a child with his or her homework to help them succeed in school, you’ve made a difference. If you’ve picked up a piece of trash to ensure it is kept out of our forests and waterways, you’ve made a difference.

Had Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. not been struck down on that infamous April day in 1968, he would celebrate his 87th birthday next week. In the United States, Dr. King’s birthday is marked by closed schools and offices, but let it be marked this year by open hearts, open minds, and a willingness to make your America better. We encourage you to serve wherever you are, in whatever capacity you can, and keep Dr. King’s vision alive. In his immortal words, “the time is always right to do the right thing.”