Ford County Emergency Manager Rex Beemer has been recognized as the New Emergency Manager of the Year by the Kansas Emergency Management Association.
The KEMA will be in Dodge City on Monday to present his award and recognize him publicly.
Beemer said he was honored and humbled by the honor. He said he was just doing his job and has worked hard to bring Ford County Emergency Management up to the level where it belongs. He has succeeded because he has had strong backing from the community, he said.
"It was real humbling. I work hard every day to protect the citizens of Ford County," Beemer said. "I couldn't have gotten the award without the support from the administration, the department heads and other agencies."
Those groups care about the community and want to improve things, Beemer said.
The best part of his job is that at the end of the day he has made a difference in the community and helped protect the public.
Most of the time, emergency management is hidden. But it is always preparing for the future. Staff design exercises to help first responders be more efficient in the event of an emergency. Then emergency management helps them out in the field. Until something happens, emergency management isn't out in the public, but when it does, emergency management is in the forefront, Beemer said.
Beemer doesn't know who nominated him for the award. Beemer started out in Ford County with fire and EMS in 1980. He worked in other towns in emergency management through the years until there was an opening in Ford County and he came back to where he started his career.
Emergency management has three people on staff and all are just a year into their duties in Ford County. Staff members are very supportive and always do whatever they are asked, Beemer said.
"I couldn't do it alone," Beemer said.
One of the most important parts of emergency management is to prepare for events everyone hopes will never happen. The Emergency Operations Plan is the guide for all those eventualities and has to be updated every five years. To get a working EOP, everybody has to come to the table to talk. Beemer said Emergency Management acted as a conduit for all the agencies. Writing the plan is the hardest aspect of the job, Beemer said.
"We all got to play in the sand together," Beemer said.
One of the biggest challenges Beemer faces is getting agencies to buy into the necessity to make plans for events that are never going to happen, in their eyes, and how to get people to understand it, Beemer said.
Why train for an earthquake when none has ever happened here? If an earthquake does happen, a plan is in place with options on how to keep things operating in an earthquake or any other type of disaster.
The Dodge City Regional Airport is soon going to have commercial jet traffic. In late June, an exercise was held to deal with a commuter plane crash. There were 13 agencies involved with the exercise, and it went well.
"The departments talked to each other. It was very beneficial," Beemer said.