A team of Pasco County emergency responders was honored by the Pasco County Commission for its efforts to help Kentucky in the aftermath of massive flooding.
The team — Andrew Fossa, Abraham Philipson, Krysta Johnes, Jessica Milford and Danielle Lang — was honored with a resolution by the county board at its Oct. 25 meeting.
The resolution details the work that was performed and commends the “outstanding and invaluable disaster relief assistance” provided to the Commonwealth of Kentucky during its time of need.
The resolution recounts that “on the evening of July 27, 2022, a large rainstorm struck Southeastern Kentucky affecting Breathitt, Perry, Clay, Pike, Letcher, Owsley, and Floyd counties, resulting in widespread destruction, casualties, and missing persons.”
It also notes that “many roads throughout the affected counties were covered with water and completely impassible.”
Plus, the resolution says, “several counties had been affected by mudslides and landslides while the water systems and pumping stations were broken down from the influx of rainwater and debris.”
As a result, according to the resolution, “citizens were without water, working sewer
systems, power, and communications.”
In response, Tampa Bay’s large network of professionals who are trained to respond to natural disasters and severe weather events, stepped forward to help.
The resolution notes that “Pasco County understands the value of providing aid and relief during times of disaster and prides itself on its skilled workforce and workers’ dedication to respect, integrity, innovation, service excellence, and quality.”
In addition to feeling “a profound sense of pride” from helping, the experience also helps Pasco’s teams to hone their skills in an unfamiliar environment, the resolution says.
Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore, who sponsored the resolution, told Fossa: “One of the great things about our team is that they’re always called to action. Obviously, we don’t like to have to see them leave Pasco County, but they leave Pasco County for good reason because they are so good at what they do.”
Fossa thanked the board for the resolution.
“The deployment was very unique for us. We see storm surge, the water comes in and the water comes out,” Fossa said.
But in Kentucky, “they actually had two flooding events within a period of about eight hours. ..
“You don’t know the power of water,” he said, noting it destructive forces recently were witnessed again, through the fury of Hurricane Ian.
“We were very instrumental with the Kentucky emergency management. We had a very good working relationship,” Fossa said.
“This team behind me, they’re second to none. They’re very hard workers. They know their jobs,” Fossa added.
Commissioner Jack Mariano told Fossa and the team: “Thank you very much for going down there.”
Besides providing help where needed, it better prepares county employees to respond when a disaster strikes at home, the county board member said.
Mariano cited an observation of Kevin Guthrie, the current director of the state’s Division of Emergency Management and former director of emergency management for Pasco County.
Mariano said that Guthrie has said, “it’s much better to learn the experience there, than to learn it here — so that when it does come here, you’re better trained, as well.
Moore told Fossa: “You guys are amazing. Thanks for all of your work.”
Fossa said the experience allowed the team to form friendships with emergency management staff in Kentucky, and to share information.
Even though the team is back in Pasco, the information-sharing continues, Fossa said.
Published November 02, 2022