Florida Division of Emergency Management has named Manatee County Emergency Management Chief Laurie Feagans the first recipient of the County Emergency Director of the Year.
Feagans received the award last week during the 2009 Current Issues in Emergency Management seminar for emergency management directors in Orlando. It was the group’s first State Emergency Management Awards ceremony. The seminar provides unique coordination opportunities for each county's lead emergency management officials.
Recipients were awarded for their innovative practices and achievements in making communities safer, stronger and better prepared to manage emergency or disaster situations. Award winners exemplified excellence in their community, emergency planning, successful public-private partnerships, collaboration, demonstration of creative and innovative local problem solving and implementing sound programs that can be modeled by other communities.
Feagans was surprised to become the first recipient of the award. She gave credit to her team of five in Manatee County’s Emergency Management division and to the group of County employees, Manatee Sheriff’s Office personnel, Manatee School Board staff, Red Cross officials and Manatee County Health Department workers who are part of this community’s expanded emergency response team.
“I took the award as not only (FDEM) recognizing me but the entire emergency management team, which is really known to be helpful around the state,” Feagans said. “It’s truly an award for the team, not just me. I’m very humbled and appreciative.”
Manatee County Public Safety Director Bill Hutchison said Feagans is the consummate emergency management professional who makes her team, her Department and Manatee County look good.
“Laurie is calm under excruciating pressure and she is well organized and task-oriented the rest of the time,” Hutchison said. “What more could you ask for? Manatee County is in good hands in good times and in bad times.”
Ruben D. Almaguer, interim director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, agreed.
"Laurie has distinguished herself amongst her peers for outstanding public service to not only the residents of Manatee County, but to disaster survivors in numerous communities throughout Florida and the Southeast during their times of need," Almaguer said. "Her dedication and ongoing commitment to go the extra mile and make a difference in the lives of many is why Laurie was chosen as County Director of the Year."
For more information on Manatee County Public Safety, visit online at www.mymanatee.org and click on Public Safety under the Departments tab.