THIS is a note of thanks to the wonderful guys from the Philadelphia Water Department Valve Unit.

Heaven knows, we see and hear all sorts of criticisms and complaints leveled against municipal employees. Maybe this anecdote will soften a few of those hard-hearted critics.

The Monday before Thanksgiving was a blustery November day. I parked at St. Ann's Church on Lehigh Avenue with a bag of groceries and a frozen turkey crowding my space. I intended to drop off my 50/50 tickets and the turkey plus all the fixings for the church's food drive.

As I opened the car door, a gale-force wind swept $76 and 76 tickets out of my grasp. The money and tickets fluttered and flew, up and down and across Lehigh Avenue. I panicked.

I'm 50, five-foot-nothing, and have had three knee surgeries. How could I ever recover the cash and tickets?

This is when Valve Unit came to the rescue. They were working nearby on a dig and had been out in the cold, windy conditions all morning. These kind, considerate men did not hesitate to come to my aid. Up and down the avenue they sprinted, arms extended, hands clawing and scooping all the cash and pink 50/50 tickets they could reach. They braved the conditions and heavy traffic to help someone in need.

When all the running and chasing, and bending and stretching, and grabbing and grasping had ended, the guys had recovered $73 and 75 tickets.

I was elated, I was thankful, and I want to thank these men publicly.

Here's to you, John Williams, Mike Jackson, Lee Tillman, Jim Schmit and Daniel Walker. You're great guys, thank you.

Eileen Spross

Philadelphia