Harvey receives Citizen of the Year Award


BUCKHANNON — A special event took place at the Upshur County Commission meeting Thursday. Jeff Harvey, of JH Consulting, was caught off guard when his presentation on the Emergency Services Study was delightfully interrupted by B-U Chamber of Commerce to present him with the Citizen of the Year Award.

Harvey stood at the podium, facing the commissioners, beginning his presentation when County Administrator Carrie Wallace interrupted and members of the Chamber of Commerce came into the room. “The Chamber is here to present you with the award for Citizen of the Year,” Wallace explained.

Harvey was completely surprised. All commissioners stated their congratulations to Harvey as well. Those in attendance had noted they had been “sworn to secrecy” and were highly anticipating the event.

“That was a pleasant derailment,” said Harvey when he returned to the podium after pictures and the brief celebration. Members of the Buckhannon-Upshur Chamber of Commerce thanked everyone for allowing the interruption of the meeting for the presentation of the award.

Harvey then continued with his presentation, presenting data and information regarding the Emergency Services Study. In his summary he noted, “If we have familiarity with the agencies in the Task Force, that goes a long way to being able to quickly be mobilizing those services when we need them. If we can map out the Emergency Services Network and have a regular way to convene this group and share information across this group then that collegiality will help us a lot when it is time to deploy.”

Harvey continued, “What I’m excited about is that if we move forward with this there is one thing to say that we identified a million needs so now we know what those are. But most of those convalesced around four pretty clear pathways so we have a directive now. We can work on four things; we cannot work on a hundred things at one time. Now I’d really like to implement the public engagement part of this, such as a survey to start the process to gauge the perceptions of the effectiveness of our emergency services, trying to figure out who comprises those services, and even solicit some ideas on what the public thinks that challenges are for emergency services and see what they think would be some solutions. Some innovation ideas can come from the public.”

“The next thing I need to do is reach out to our agencies and compile some resource information. We need to need to be able to compare what we have versus what we may need disaster wise. We will also need to have some planning meetings and strategy sessions,” said Harvey, who concluded that with the data collected, there is more action to take now and we can be more proactive.

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