The KAC is an organization that seeks to advance the public interest by promoting effective, responsive county government in Kansas, primarily through legislative representation, technical assistance, leadership, and professional education. During the pandemic, the KAC has been instrumental in keeping a line of communication open for two larger projects that are relevant to many, if not all, Emergency Managers. They put a tremendous focus on the CARES Act last year and now the ARPA moving through 2021. While they have no monetary interest in the funding received by counties from those two projects, they are willing to share information and ensure that every county has access to necessary information. The KAC sought out input from KEMA members on several occasions for issues that directly affected the Emergency Management community, with the primary focus on SB40. The KAC has supported KEMA and many other agencies recently. We congratulate them on the 2021 Outstanding Service Award.
Brian and Taylor have played an instrumental part in the implementation of Cowley County's Quarantine Box or Q-Box program. Started in November of 2020, this program provides kits containing food and essential supplies to those recently tested for COVID-19 to ensure their immediate needs are met. A former work release facility that was being used for storage was converted to a warehouse, and pallets of food, toiletries, and other essentials were sourced. Once the supplies were delivered, staff from several County departments and volunteers from the community were scheduled to assemble the kits and make them ready for distribution by community partners. Through their coordination and hard work, and with the support of County Administration, over 2,000 kits have been assembled for the benefit of Cowley County citizens. Congratulations Brian and Taylor.
On her first day of her first job, Julie faced: being in an unprecedented global pandemic; a population of 500,000; local politicians and health officials at odds over the best course of action; a department devastated by turnover, strained relationships from the previous director both internally and with other agencies; and a new budget to work on! Despite being thrown headfirst into the deep end, Julie has thrived in her role, and has enthusiastically embraced the challenges. Morale within the department has rebounded, turnover has stabilized, and she has made as many visits as COVID would allow to talk with other departments and agencies, making great strides in mending fences and rebuilding relationships. She has quickly built a level of confidence within the Board of County Commissioners, who already trust her knowledge and expertise. She has worked tirelessly to fill the gaps in her knowledge regarding local threats, and the intricacies involved with being a county Emergency Manager. Since taking on her new role as Director of Sedgwick County Emergency Management, Julie has been fighting, and succeeding, in getting the department back on solid ground. Congratulations Julie on all you have accomplished so far.
In Dickinson County, Chancy has been a tireless advocate for preparedness and has worked with all levels of local government, schools and businesses to help them prepare for any and all hazards the county might face. He has also developed a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and CERT training to students. Chancy is a long-term member of the Kansas Incident Management Team and serves as Deputy Division Supervisor of the North Central team as well as a member of the IMT Working Group. He has made many deployments into other jurisdictions as an IMT member. He is also one of the longest serving members of the North Central Regional Homeland Security Council. Early in the COVID-19 Pandemic, Chancy contacted all the North Central regional Emergency Managers and organized a daily meeting to bring all of them together. His region felt this was one of the most critical parts of managing the COVID Pandemic in their counties.
Regardless of how minor an incident seems to be, if you call Chancy, he is quickly there offering whatever help you need. He will give you an honest, frank and sometimes painful answer when asked; he will stand his ground until a consensus and compromise is made out of honesty and mutual respect; and he will always have your back. Congratulations Chancy on receiving the 2021 EM Professional of the Year award.
for this award, the KEMA president tried to come up with someone who had gone above and beyond their “normal” responsibilities. The individual who went above and beyond the most to better not only the EM community but the whole NE Homeland Security Council was Nelson Casteel of Shawnee County Emergency Management. His work for the NE region reached further to most other Homeland security regions across the state. He spent numerous hours building and updating project worksheets/spreadsheets, monitoring the legislature, and providing updates to our organization about the happenings at the statehouse. Also putting out detailed COVID information on a regular basis was quite beneficial.