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8 Retirees Share Why They Chose Public Service

As a public servant, you should be proud of your career. Even after you’ve retired, your contributions to your community are long-lasting.

For some people, making a difference was why they chose a public sector career in the first place. Others realized the impact after they started working, then grew to appreciate the importance of service.

We surveyed CalPERS members to learn why they chose a career in public service. Our retirees shared many wonderful stories. Here are eight of them.

“I chose to serve because I felt that it was always part of me. My dad was a WWII veteran. I was a Desert Storm veteran, and my daughter was also a veteran. I wanted to serve not only in the military but also in public service to provide a level of service for people of all backgrounds. That was the least I could do, and I enjoyed working with a team of dedicated men and women from all corners of society.” —Peter Nicholas Fahy, retiree, Fire Captain, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District

“I was just starting out as a mother and it was a perfect place to start my career with the school district, for a total of 39 years. The school was near my home, the work calendar and hours fit in my life, and the chance to work and meet the families in my community was amazing.” —Gloria Rangel, retiree, Human Resource Specialist, San Diego Unified School District

“For years I was a recipient of public service. They helped me get on my feet, and when I did, I wanted to give back.” —Bonnie J. Hoy, retiree, RN4, County of Riverside


“I find it rewarding serving others. It’s one of my many callings.” —Angela Valeen Kraft, retiree, Executive Secretary, Kern Community College District

“I was born and raised in the city that I chose to work for. I pretty much knew all the streets and the neighborhoods, and played in all the creeks that ran through the city. It just felt right to apply and work for the city that I loved so much growing up. I felt like I was helping my neighbors whenever a call came in. After working through the ranks and accepting the supervisor position, I was able to direct my team to handle the calls more efficiently. I loved my 40+ years with the city.” —Michael Moore, retiree, Maintenance Supervisor, City of Pleasant Hill


“As a young boy, I delivered the St. Joseph Missouri News Press paper. My last stop was at Fire Station 10. The firefighters treated me with respect and left a lasting impression on me. After moving to California, I read the local fire department was testing to fill one position. I got the appointment. Forty-four years later, I retired. It proved to be all I had hoped for and then some.” —Melvin D. Enslow, retiree, Fire Chief, City of Redlands

“My father retired from state service as an administrator with 37 years, including military credits. He was an exemplary Servant Leader. We both taught for California Community Colleges. We participated with a Public Administration delegation to South Africa, meeting with government officials, discussing the dramatic change from apartheid to democracy, and how black lives really mattered. When we were asked to provide an overview of California’s Community Colleges system, I was inspired to return to California to work at the State Chancellor’s Office, to have a more macro view of how we oversaw and supported spending with a wider lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I retired in 2020, during the COVID pandemic, and am proud of my servant leadership in the Workforce and Economic Development Division.” —Rev. Maureen E. White, retiree, Specialist/Education and Workforce Consultant, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, Board of Governors

“I love people. I like the varieties of thoughts, actions, and cultures. Especially in Oakland I love working with kids and families and watching them learn and grow.” —Michelle Doppelt, retiree, Recreation Supervisor, City of Oakland Parks and Recreation


If you liked these stories, be sure to check out our We Serve CA video series, and follow CalPERS on social media for more inspiration.