Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator, at the Earthquake Communications Preparedness Forum, held on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 in Washington, DC, thanked the Amateur radio community. He said that ham radio really is valuable "when all else fails". His part of the forum begins at about 18:30. The whole video was interesting if you have the time to watch, at least watch the part about ham radio. I think this gives some insight about Amateur radio and public service.