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Emergency workers win state awards
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Dawson County Emergency Services has received two prestigious awards from the Emergency Managers Association of Georgia.

The department itself was named Emergency Management Agency of the Year for 2012, while Director Billy Thurmond was named EMA Director of the Year for 2012.

The department also has been recognized by the Georgia Emergency Management Agency for being one of the first five EMAs in the state to complete 10 target items for a disaster match project. The county has also been recognized as a Storm Ready community since 2008 due to the efforts of DCES.

I was proud to accept this award on behalf of Dawson County Emergency Services staff, and Dawson County, Thurmond said. A well-prepared EMA works hand-in-hand with a lot of different partners. The assistance and cooperation we receive from the Board of Commissioners, county departments and private sector allow this agency to be prepared to serve our citizens.

All of our partners, we would like to thank and we share this award with them.

Chief of DCES, Lanier Swafford, agreed.

In the state, theres 161 Emergency Management Agencies, he said. So to be selected out of 161 potential applications, to me that was a great honor. Its an honor to be awarded, but were receiving for 161 agencies, too.

Thurmond has served in his current position since 2001, having been employed with the county since 1978. Before serving as director of DCES, he was Emergency Medical Services director.

After 35 years of service to this county, and 32 to emergency services, Billys level of professionalism speaks for itself, Swafford said. Hes a very capable leader who has brought this department to a pinnacle worthy of being recognized.

Commission Chairman Mike Berg called the awards well-deserved.

Obviously, its a credit to Billy and what hes meant to Dawson County over the years, Berg said. Ive always felt that our entire program there ranks at the top in the state, and this is just validation of that.

It it always an honor to receive an award that is voted on by your peers in a profession, Thurmond said. I will say that I was surprised and humbled to receive this award. There are a lot of excellent EMA directors in Georgia.