Highland Sheriff updates Supervisors on recent emergency response

Monterey, Va. – Sheriff Tim Duff made a report to the Highland County Board of Supervisors on the recent county-wide power outage at their meeting Tuesday evening. He starts with a list of thank-yous.

“I’ve got a series of people here I want to thank publicly,” said Sheriff Duff. “The first one is the County Administrator (Roberta Lambert), aka my newest employee. Miss Roberta, again, as soon as it kicked off, you were there. Thank you, you are always, always welcome in my office. Our Governor and his Secretary of Public Safety got involved the second or third day. The public doesn’t realize what the Governor and this woman did to get things rolling for us. So we owe them a debt of gratitude,” he said.

Sheriff Duff noted the contributions of Emergency Services Coordinator Harley Gardner and Richard Waybright.

“Harley Gardner, our Emergency Services Coordinator, every time we picked up the phone, he was there,” said Sheriff Duff. “Again, (he was) a major asset to the community. Richard jumped in the Town truck, he was delivering equipment and he picked up equipment when everything was stood down. He freed up a lot of people. The volunteers, the cooks, the runners who went down to Covington to pick up supplies for us courtesy of the Red Cross, the cleanup crews keeping Elmer’s (Fire Chief Elmer Waybright) kitchen clean. It was definitely a joint effort.

“Lastly, a very big thank you to the radio station, Erin, Keith, Erica. You allowed me to go in there twice a day, literally unannounced, to just walk in and put out a PSA (public service announcement) for the folks. The people appreciated it and I really appreciated it,” he said.

Several organizations contributed to the resources available for those in the county without power.

“The Red Cross donated $500 for all the food that was prepared at the Fire House kitchen,” said Sheriff Duff. “WalMart kicked in an additional $500, so when they arrived they gave us $1000 worth of food. I’m currently holding $308 in private donations. A good chunk of that money came from somebody not even in the county. He was driving through, saw what was going on, and handed a good chunk of money to a local citizen and said Give this to somebody and make sure it gets put to good use.’ We can pay this money forward. I will give this money to Roberta to cut a check to the Red Cross for $308. Whether it’s us in another four months, which seems to be the going trend, or another county that needs the Red Cross, this money will be a great benefit,” he said.

One bright spot in this storm event is that the Sheriff now has personal cell phone numbers of executives at Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative and Mon Power in West Virginia, so that he can get quick response to questions about outages and restoration of power.

“I’ve asked for a heads up’ prior to the final switching over or switch back when we get our normal power grid reinstated,” said Sheriff Duff. “And I hope to be able to put out a PSA (public service announcement) or Code Red message or both, to safeguard the public’s sensitive electronics. We do not know when this will happen,” he said.

The Highland County Local Emergency Planning Committee is meeting Thursday evening to discuss the recent storm event response and how to improve it. In other county news, the new bridge in McDowell opened two weeks ago, much to the relief of county residents who frequently travel Route 250.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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