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Throwing Out the First Pitch to Salute Public Service

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OPM chief Katherine Archuleta warms up for the first pitch at Monday's Washington Nationals game. OPM chief Katherine Archuleta warms up for the first pitch at Monday's Washington Nationals game. Office of Personnel Management

Tonight is the Washington Nationals' “Salute to Public Service” game, and I’m excited to share the names of the five federal employees I’ve asked to join me on the field when I throw out the first pitch.

For this year’s Public Service Recognition Week, the Office of Personnel Management, with the support of a group of Excellence in Government fellows, decided to shine a light on something each and every employee does the first day on the job -- take the oath of office.

Being a federal employee is about more than having a job. The #HonorTheOath campaign reminds us of the commitment each and every federal employee makes when she or he begins a new job in the U.S. government.

Each of these individuals submitted a video explaining how they #HonorTheOath of office each day through serving the American people. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating them on when the Washington Nationals play the Miami Marlins this evening.

Francisco Leija, a lieutenant colonel in the Army, joined the White House Fellow program and the Homeland Security after bravely serving his country during many tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He chose a life of public service to honor his parents, who immigrated to the United States seeking a better life for their family.

Margaret Miller Lenart is the recipient of multiple Director’s Awards at the Office of Personnel Management, where she works in Human Resources Solutions. She is passionate about helping other federal agencies carry out their missions, recognizing that although she is “a little part in a big government…every day, [she helps] in a big way.”

Gail Morgado serves at the State Department in the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations, Office of Overseas Operations. In the midst of working in South Sudan during their self-determination vote, Gail was thrilled to be able to return to Washington, D.C. to take her oath of office in the presence of her family.

Michael Odle is a public affairs specialist for the National Indian Gaming Commission at the Interior Department. As both a member of the federal civil service and the armed forces, Michael believes it is his duty to represent and serve the American people.

Yajaira Sierra-Sastre is a researcher at the Treasury Department's Bureau of Engraving and Printing, but she is also part of a six-person crew that is preparing for a four-month-long Mars analog mission funded by NASA. She is excited to use her knowledge of science and technology to secure U.S. currency at home and abroad.

Simply put, the submissions from these devoted federal employees inspired me. Their passion for their country, their stellar work ethic, and their pledge to the American people reminds me of why I am so fortunate to be the Director of OPM. If you have a story to share, I encourage you to participate at opm.gov/oath.

Let’s make PSRW a true celebration of America’s workforce. Thank you again to all of the women and men who make our country strong.

Katherine Archuleta is former director of the Office of Personnel Management. She is the first Latina to lead the agency and has dedicated herself to being a champion of a diverse, engaged and inclusive federal workforce. Archuleta began her career in public service as a school teacher in Denver. She has worked for two Denver mayors, founded nonprofit organizations and was a key administrator for the departments of Transportation, Energy and Labor.

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