Wow! Another summer has come and gone. Where did it go? The kids are in settling into school and winter weather will soon be upon us. As we all begin preparations for colder weather, I would like to remind you that September is Preparedness Month. Be sure to watch this and other emergency preparedness websites for activities and resources. Additionally I’d like to remind you of a couple of past emergency incidents that still remain relevant today.
The first is a reminder of the approaching September 11 date. As with all past anniversaries of the tragedies that unfolded in our county on September 11, 2001, please be extra vigilant during this time. We must always keep our eyes open, especially during high profile dates.
The second is a reminder that this month marks the tenth anniversary of West Virginia’s response to Hurricane Katrina - Operation Safe Haven. On the Friday before the Labor Day weekend of September, 2005, then-Governor Joe Manchin ordered DHHR and other state and local agencies and organizations to join together to provide support to several hundred “guests” that would soon be arriving from the devastated State of Louisiana. The next day marked what began a six week deployment of DHHR staff (with other partners) to Camp Dawson in Preston County, beginning the deliberate buildup of a community for guests and responders alike, who together, weathered the storm until everyone was back at home or launched new beginnings.
Those of us who worked in that event were blessed to be part of an amazing response that even today affects how we work together and understand our role in Public Health and Medical Preparedness. I remain very proud of my DHHR colleagues and associated partners who personally sacrificed so much to support those who were caught in that terrible storm and make life just a bit easier for them.
To those who responded, I say Thank You for a job well done, and Happy 10th Anniversary!