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Dawson County CERT director garners award
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Dawson County Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, Director Richard Sims was awarded the Volunteer/Citizen of the Year Award on Monday at the Emergency Managers Association of Georgia's annual banquet.

The award is presented to those individuals who volunteer their time to improve the delivery of emergency management services within the community. Sims was one of three chosen to receive the award for 2011.

Sims, who has served as the director of Dawson County CERT since August 2008, has been involved with the team since February 2006. He served as deputy director from Fall 2007 to August 2008. In his words, "I have enjoyed every minute of it."

While serving as director some of the accomplishments that he is most proud of include:

• Development and growth of CERT from 30 members to 125 current members.

• Held at least one training class each year and in most years conducted two training classes.

• Conducted 10 monthly training sessions each year. The sessions are approximately 1½ hours in length and include all aspects of the CERT program.

• Conducted annual, full-scale mock training disaster exercises.

• Developed a leadership team, with various complementary backgrounds.

• Coordinated the development of the annual Homeland Security Grants that resulted in the county receiving significant grant awards.

• Implemented Swiftreach Notification System and developed a team of trained CERT members who can also utilize the system if necessary.

• Developed a group of CERT members who are available and capable of working in the Dawson County EOC if required.

"Richard's nomination outlined the countless hours and selfless contributions Richard Sims has made to ensure the Dawson County Community Emergency Response Team is the best it can be and a leader among the teams across the state," said Dawson County Emergency Services Chief Lanier Swafford. "Dawson County Emergency Services is extremely proud of our CERT Team and especially proud of Richard Sims and the recognition of his hard work and dedication."