KEMA Awards 2012

KEMA Awards 2012

Outstanding Service Award is presented to individuals/groups inside or outside the Association, who have put forth significant effort either during a specified period of service, or for a specific action or accomplishment, which furthers the aim of the Association and is beyond mere performance of regular duties.

2012 Nominations for Outstanding Service were:
Douglas County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)
Emergency Management Programs of Barton, Butler, Ellsworth, Kingman, Harper, Marion, McPherson, Reno, Rice, Russell, Saline, Sedgwick, and Sumner Counties
 
2012 Outstanding Service Award Winner:
Douglas County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC)

Douglas County LEPC is an active group of 42 members from private, public, and non-profit organizations who come together to ensure Douglas County is disaster aware and disaster prepared. In addition to meeting to discuss all-hazards preparedness they review local plans, participate in exercises and support the efforts of the Douglas County Emergency Management Department, truly exemplifying the values of KEMA.

The LEPC is a strong voice for emergency management in Kansas. Several members participate in working groups throughout the state and region. Within their own agencies they work to strengthen the preparedness and response plans. They support the mission and vision of Douglas County Emergency Management during preparedness events, speaking on their behalf to local officials, and by providing expertise during emergencies and planned events.

Douglas County LEPC understands the importance of bringing together all partners, public and private, to ensure their community can effectively and efficiently prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from all hazards. They recognize the necessity, as a county, to work with surrounding counties to encourage mutual aid. They continue to promote and participate in regional training, exercises and events.

Douglas County LEPC works closely with emergency management staff to update emergency and strategic plans. They provided regional hazardous materials training (HazMat IQ) and regional exercise (Operation Luminous Sunflower) through HMEP funds. They have pledged to support a jail exercise and additional training for first responders throughout the region next year. They never hesitate to assist others when questions or concerns arise and a unique feature of this group is the membership opens its doors to others for meetings, training, and walkthroughs.

Members are always ready to step up and provide leadership and guidance to internal and external partners, other LEPCs, and promote a spirit of collaboration. One LEPC member participated in a panel discussion during the 2012 LEPC/TERC Conference to provide best practices. Several members’ individual efforts, dedication to preparedness, and support of emergency management were evident during the planning stages of Operation Luminous Sunflower by taking time to coordinate exercise elements within not only their agency but other entities as well.

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Life Member Awards are presented to members who have significantly contributed to the purposes of the association over a period of years.

2012 Life Members Award Recipients:
Bill Guy, Reno County Emergency Management
Jim D Schmidt, Butler County Emergency Management
Deborah Swoboda, Washington County Emergency Management

Bill Guy, Reno County Emergency Management
Bill served in the Air Force from 1972 to 1996 where he became involved in disaster preparedness, serving in training, operations, logistics, and as a Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge and Chief of Disaster Preparedness. It was during this time the “Master of Disaster” nickname was earned.

He is currently the Reno County Emergency Management Director, a position he has held since starting employment there in 1996. During his tenure he has responded to flooding events, severe weather, ice storms, winter weather, hazmat incidents, train derailments, large fires, sinkholes, gas explosions, and a grain elevator explosion. Thus Reno is more commonly referred to as Hazard County.

Bill has been a KEMA member since 1996, served on various KEMA Committees, was KEMA South Central Vice President in 2000-2002, KEMA President Elect in 2004-2005, President in 2005-2006 and Past President in 2006-2007. He is the current KEMA representative to Kansas Association of Counties and is 1 of 3 commissioners to serve on the Kansas Certified Emergency Manager (KCEM) Committee.

Jim D Schmidt, Butler County Emergency Management
Jim has been the Butler County Emergency Management Director since he was hired in June 1992 after the 1991 Andover Tornado Disaster. He took Butler County from being the least prepared county and no emergency operations plan and built the program from the ground up.

He has been a mentor, leader and friend, not only in Butler County but throughout the state. This is evidenced by instructing various training and being active within the KEMA Association answering questions on history and assisting those seeking guidance.

He is a member of the Butler County LEPC, Butler County Fire Chiefs Association, Emergency Services Association, South Central Regional Homeland Security Council, South Central Incident Management Team, and is a volunteer firefighter and maintains paramedic certification.

He has served on the KEMA Site Selection Committee and Awards Committee; Past KEMA South Central Vice President, and served on the KEMA Board as President Elect, President and Past President.

Jim has also managed several local federally declared disasters and responded out of state on EMAC requests.

Deborah Swoboda, Washington County Emergency Management
Deb has been employed by Washington County since 1982, first as a part time dispatcher becoming a full time dispatcher in 1984 where she also assisted part time with emergency preparedness. In 1993 she was appointed Washington County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator.
                                                      
She has been a KEMA member since 1988 and has attended all but one conference during this period of time.  Deb has become the unofficial historian for KEMA. She has taken pictures at conference and compiled them into photo albums. She had used her own camera until a few years ago when KEMA purchased a camera, which she now uses.

In 2008 she volunteered to serve as KEMA’s agent to review all initial application for the Kansas Certified Emergency Manager Program.  This takes many hours to review and determine eligibility after examining all the information/paperwork that is submitted for each application to determine if the criteria has been met.

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Randy Reinecker Instructor of the Year Award is presented in recognition of an instructor who has performed exemplary service in providing emergency management related education and training programs.  This award was named after long time McPherson County Emergency Management Coordinator Randy Reinecker, one of the first local coordinators to provide training for Kansas Emergency Management and who traveled extensively throughout the State of Kansas training emergency managers and other emergency responders to better protect their communities and the State of Kansas.

2012 Nominees:
Kevin Jones, Chanute Fire Department & Fred Rinne, Fredonia Regional Hospital
Cathy Hernandez, Kansas Division of Emergency Management

2012 Randy Reinecker Instructor of the Year Award Recipient:
Cathy Hernandez, Kansas Division of Emergency Management
Instructed: ICS 300 five times, ICS 400 two times, IS288 Role of Voluntary Agencies in Emergency Management and G270.4 Recovery From Disaster: the Local Government Role.

Cathy has helped instruct a variety of courses throughout the state whenever a need arises. She teaches anywhere/anytime, sometimes at night and on weekends as long as the necessary training gets done. She wants to keep it convenient for the students.

Cathy keeps it fun and entertaining while making sure her students grasp the concept and point that she emphasizes. Her classes are usually lively with much discussion and information shared with everyone in class. 

Her knowledge and experience really show through when she gives examples and helps people understand in a way that makes sense to them. She usually gives examples that are relevant to her audience. 

She has even provided impromptu training at LEPC meetings when something is brought up that few understand. She has an authority about her that makes people listen and take note.

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Leon H Mannell Outstanding Emergency Management Support Professional is presented in recognition of an individual who provides critical support, or behind the scene services vital to the success of an Emergency Management organization, and that are above and beyond routine responsibilities.  This award was renamed the Leon H Mannell Award to honor a former RADEF Officer of the Kansas Division of Emergency Preparedness.

2012 Nominees:
Sandy Hendrikson, United Methodist Church Disaster Response Kansas West Conference
Randy Hill, Kingman County Sheriff’s Office
Randy Krug, Russell Rotary
Shawn Wheat, WIBW (formerly KSOK, Arkansas City)

2012 Leon H Mannell Outstanding Emergency Management Support Professional Award Recipient:
Randy Hill, Kingman County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Hill was hired by Kingman County Sheriff’s Office July 1, 1981 and rose through the ranks to Undersheriff. He was elected Sheriff in 1996. He has held the position of Deputy Emergency Manager and filled the position of Emergency Manager when it has been vacant.

Sheriff Hill strongly believes in training.  In addition to law enforcement training his deputies are required to attend annual storm spotter training, are trained in HazMat Operations level, responding to all hazardous materials calls within the county, and respond to all fire calls giving valuable size up information to the responding units.  He leads by example by attending storm spotter training and holds HazMat Operations level certification. When the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) Professional Development Series course requirements were released he completed them all even though as an elected official he was exempt. He is a current Kansas Certified Emergency Manager (KCEM).

Kingman County Sheriff’s Office is always willing to help out other departments within the county, whether participating in the annual Fifth Grade Safety Day, assisting with a bike rodeo or helping the Health Department with a POD, they are always there.

Sheriff Hill and his deputies are regularly called out as storm spotters for Kingman County.

On May 19, 2012 a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for Kingman County. Sheriff Hill and his deputies began to track the storms at several different places through Kingman County.  The situation rapidly changed and multiple tornadoes were spotted at several places in the county. Sheriff Hill & his deputies relayed the information to the 911 Center, which in turn relayed it to the National Weather Service (NWS). The outdoor warning sirens in Kingman County were immediately activated.  The early warning allowed patrols at the 2 State parks and the towns in the storms’ paths additional time to take needed actions to find shelter. Kingman County Sheriff’s Office tracked at least six (6) separate tornadoes that evening, some as they crossed the Harper County line into Kingman County through the Wind Turbine farm, which is still under construction.  Wichita NWS stated that the Kingman County Sheriff’s Office played a vital role in helping the NWS distinguish the type of weather event about to unfold upon the citizens of Kingman and Harper Counties. On this particular date the weather environment initially did not seem conducive to tornadoes. The primary threat seemed to be large hail, high winds and possibly a brief land spout. As the line of storms moved out of Reno County into Kingman County the mesoscale environment changed and more helicity or the ability to spin, was noted. At that time it was determined that a few very brief and weak land spouts may occur, which would pose minimal threat to life and property. The reporting from the Kingman County Sheriff’s Office played a role in helping the NWS recognize that a more serious situation may be unfolding. An initial report from the sheriff’s office prompted the NWS to look more closely at the environment and tornado warnings were issued in place of thunderstorm warnings. As the storms continued to occur further south along the line they became increasingly stronger and stronger verbiage was utilized in the warnings to stress the significance of these tornadoes.

The constant communication from the Kingman County Sheriff’s Office helped the NWS keep abreast of the significant outbreak of tornadoes, two which were ultimately rated EF-3s. A rating of EF-3 is considered a strong tornado capable of producing loss of life, injuries and very significant damage.

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Col Mahlon G Weed Outstanding New Emergency Management Professional is presented to an individual who has served 24 months or less in the position and has made specific accomplishments and/or improvements in the local program.  This award was renamed to honor Col Mahlon G Weed, former Deputy Director of Kansas Division of Emergency Preparedness.

2012 Nominees:
Randy Blehm, Meade County Emergency Management

2012 Col Mahlon G Weed Outstanding New Emergency Management Professional Award Recipient:
Randy Blehm, Meade County Emergency Management

Randy is the Meade County Public Works Administrator and in February 2012 was officially appointed as Meade County Emergency Management Alternate Coordinator. He had been assisting the Meade County Emergency Manager for over a year prior to the official appointment.

Although initially asked to become the alternate to meet the Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG) requirement, he took the bull by the horns and ran with it. He immediately started taking online courses to get a better understanding of the job. He has taken the NIMS and other training to meet the EMPG requirements.  He is working towards his KCEM and hopes to gain additional knowledge of what an emergency management coordinator needs to accomplish.

Randy has attended all countywide exercises for the past two years and has filled in the Meade County Emergency Management role during a regional health department table top exercise in Dodge City earlier this year. He has volunteered to evaluate at the 18 county SW regional hospital table top exercise in June, and on short notice evaluated a table top exercise for another county in the region. He was on the planning committee for the Armed Intruder exercise recently held in Meade County.

He attended the LEPC Conference this past spring and returned home fired up to strengthen the Meade County LEPC.  He gave a presentation of what he learned at the state conference and explained the importance of participation and commitment to the local LEPC.

He is constantly bringing up scenarios to the Meade County EM and discussing how they would handle them if the need arises.

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Owen U Turrentine Emergency Management Professional of the Year is presented in recognition of an Emergency Management professional and leader who exemplifies the ideals of professional public service and has met professional certification requirements.  This award was renamed to honor Owen U Turrentine, former operations coordinator with Kansas Division of Emergency Preparedness.

2012 Nominees:
Keith Haberer, Russell/Ellsworth County Emergency Management
Pam Kemp, Clay County Emergency Management
Toby Prine, Kansas Division of Emergency Management
Bill Ring, Ellis County Emergency Management
Bill Taldo, Lane County Emergency Management

2012 Owen U Turrentine Award Recipient:
Keith Haberer, Russell/Ellsworth County Emergency Management

Keith is knowledgeable and always assists others with questions or reviewing situations for anyone needing assistance throughout the state. He did an excellent job coordinating resources and keeping the incident under control a few years ago at the grain elevator collapse in Russell. Keith also showed great leadership and coordination with the emergency responders earlier this year when a tornado went through the City of Russell.

This past year Keith has also become the Emergency Management Coordinator for Ellsworth County and continues to provide the highest quality of professionalism, leadership and coordination for both counties.

Keith is also a member of the NW Incident Management Team, NW Regional Homeland Security County, Emergency Management Support Association of Kansas (EMSAK), and much more. He approaches each with enthusiasm and has the ability to provide viable solutions to the problems.

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Special Recognition Certificate:
Best Practices of Cooperative Partnerships with National Weather Service (NWS)
Emergency Management Programs of Barton, Butler, Ellsworth, Kingman, Harper, Marion, McPherson, Reno, Rice, Russell, Saline, Sedgwick, and Sumner Counties

The evening of April 14, 2012 a notable tornado outbreak occurred across portions of central and south central Kansas. A total of 21 tornadoes touched down across the jurisdiction served by the National Weather Service (NWS) Office in Wichita on this fateful day. Of these 21 tornadoes, one in Ellsworth County was rated an EF-4, and two tornadoes achieved an EF-3 rating with one in Sumner and Sedgwick Counties.

The NWS Wichita Office would like to recognize the emergency management (EM) partners affected by these tornadoes for their exemplary service to both NWS and to the citizens of their respective counties. Their dedication to service was put to the test and each EM professional responded with vigor. Frequent communications regarding tornado locations and movement were provided to the NWS via radio, phone or NWSChat. Each communication was timely and of very high quality. This communication ultimately led to the NWS issuing pin point warnings and statements throughout the warning decision process. There is no doubt that the vital information provided by the EM professionals were integral in helping the citizens of Kansas make well informed decisions whether or not to they should seek shelter as the storms approached. The lack of fatalities and shockingly low number of injuries can arguably be directly attributed to the efforts pub forth by each EM professional.

The EMs continued to show their dedication to service after the fact. NWS must perform an assessment to rate each tornado’s strength and gather track information. This group of EM professionals went well above and beyond the call of duty regarding post event preparatory work.  In many cases the EM partners greeted the NWS with preliminary tornado tracks to help with exact locations of damage which saved many hours of travel time. Some EMs personally escorted the NWS on several surveys to help us get into damage stricken areas. One EM partner helped the NWS by performing the damage assessments completely on their own which allowed the NWS the opportunity to give more attention and time to those locations impacted the greatest.

NWS Wichita Office would like to nominate each of the affected EM programs for their hard work, diligence, and sacrifices made to ensure the NWS had the most up to date information available for warning decisions and for providing detailed information after the event. Their dedication to service only exemplifies the professionalism each EM has in regards to serving the citizens of Kansas and their partners.

To quote Mike Smith, a weather enterprise partner at AccuWeather, “To my colleagues at the National Weather Service, the television stations in the central US, and at AccuWeather—great job!! Through your very hard work and dedication we have “tamed” the weather.”
This would not have been possible without the sacrifices made by our EM partners. NWS cannot stress enough their appreciation for the support given during each and every hazardous weather event we work together as a team to keep those we serve safe from harm’s way.

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The Honorary Membership Award: Is for any person who has made an outstanding contribution to the purposes of the Association may be chosen as an honorary member. The Honorary Membership Award is aimed at persons outside the Association who have aided or served the association in some outstanding manner.