By Emily Simonson, Senior Manager, Strategy and Special Projects, US Water Alliance

May 18, 2020

Dear Kevin Jhingory (Sewer Services Foreman at DC Water),

People show their appreciation for essential workers a lot these days. We post signs in our windows, start clapping at a certain time every day, are (hopefully) kinder to the ones we happen to encounter—and, no doubt, we have a lot to thank them for!

But when you shared your story on the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation webinar, you reminded all of us watching that most people don’t really think about those who keep water flowing in and out of our homes safely. So, not that you asked for gratitude, but sincerely on behalf of the many listeners who were so moved by your story: thank you! We recognize and appreciate you.

Your story of finding a career in water when you weren’t necessarily expecting to may be familiar to many reading this, and it was definitely familiar to me. You mentioned not knowing at first what you wanted to do, but that you hoped it would be something meaningful. I hope that now, thinking about the over 100 people you manage who keep DC’s 1,900 miles of sewer in good working order, you can look back and see just what a difference you make. While residents are sheltering in place and dealing with so much change, they can still count on you and the DC Water team to keep water flowing through their homes and community safely.

Thank you, also, for your real talk about how exhausting the fear of not knowing can be—of wondering when you’ll get that call about something that needs fixing, something that might even mean entering a resident’s home in the midst of a pandemic. I was glad to hear about the social distancing and other precautions DC Water is taking, that you have the PPE you need, and that in true, resilient fashion, your organization is learning from this moment and building out new emergency management and recovery plans for future health emergencies.

On behalf of those working from our homes throughout the broader water sector, we hear you and promise to raise our voices in support for the policies and decisions that will help you and your team stay safe and healthy.

Thanks for all you do!