Before They Were Famous: Celebrities Who Were Once Federal Workers

During Public Service Recognition Week (May 6 - 12), it's important to think about the proud legacy of America's federal workforce. With the exception of astronauts and the intelligence team that caught Osama bin Laden, there aren't many federal employees whose work is heralded in newspaper headlines, yet they do a million things a day that deserve to be recognized.

Whether it's their role to inspect spinach for traces of salmonella, sound the alarm when a tornado is looming, open new international trade routes for U.S. companies to sell their products, patrol America's borders, care for our veterans or acquire the best equipment for our soldiers, federal employees' satisfaction comes from the knowledge that America is safer and stronger because they did their jobs.

Even though you don't hear about their work every day, that's not to say you've never heard of some of America's federal employees! I guarantee you have. Who are these famous former feds?

Dr. Seuss - Fifteen years before publishing The Cat in the Hat, Theodor Seuss Geisel worked as an illustrator for the U.S. Department of the Treasury in 1942.

Walt Disney - Before changing movies forever, Walt Disney delivered mail to the residents of Chicago, IL.

Walt Whitman - The American poet Walt Whitman was once a writer for the federal government, serving in the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Attorney General's office. At the AG's office, Whitman wrote orders to investigate and prosecute a new group called the Ku Klux Klan.

Clara Barton - Before founding the American Red Cross, Clara Barton helped other Americans get their ideas off the ground during her service at the U.S. Patent Office.

Steve Carell - We all know and love Steve Carell for his antics on The Office. Before television, Steve had a different job -- as a letter carrier with the federal government.

Julia Child - During World War II, Julia Child worked as a top secret researcher for the Office of Strategic Services, a U.S. intelligence agency. For her service, she received an award that cited her "drive and inherent cheerfulness."

Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) - Another federal worker turned celebrity chef, Ina Garten worked at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget as a top economist during the 1970s.

Kal Penn - The rare person who was famous first and then became a federal worker, Kal Penn worked for the Obama administration after starring in roles in the Harold & Kumar movies and television's House.