Galey takes reins as state assoc. head

Published 5:00 am Monday, June 22, 2009

After being elected president of the Mississippi Civil Defense/Emergency Management Association in April, Lincoln County CivilDefense Director Clifford Galey now has a 10-gallon hat to add tothe rack of other ones he wears in emergency management.

Galey said the time he’s had to settle into office has consistedof things like making appointments to different MCDEMA committees,as well as making certain that areas in need get the help requiredto keep them up and running during disasters.

“During all the bad weather in north Mississippi last weekend, Icame to the office Friday night just to make calls and see ifanyone needed help,” he said, adding that that became a part of hisduties when he was elected president.

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“Our association has different teams that basically are localEMA directors, and we try to get them to where they can respond tocities or counties that have had emergencies,” he said. “Duringsituations like Katrina and Gustav, we had some directors fromother counties come in. That comes from our organizations, they’llcall us and say we need some help, and we’ll send it.”

MCDEMA is made up of hundreds of law enforcement and emergencyservice agencies, including hospitals, from around the state.

Representatives serve on the board from each of the MississippiEmergency Management Agency’s nine districts. Galey had been on theMCDEMA board of directors for several years in the past, he said,most recently having spent time as the vice-president.

“They asked would I accept the nomination for president, and Isaid yes, and I ended up getting elected president,” he said. “It’san honor to even be nominated.”

Working on building awareness in the public eye is an importantpart of MCDEMA’s mission, but Galey said it’s not just about thepublic. It’s also about those running the government.

“One of our main goals is to keep funding from our government tohelp local organizations stay in business, really,” he said. “Wework hard on that, and we put a group of directors together for atrip to Washington each year to meet with our congressionaldelegations.”

The team also meets with the national and internationalassociations, working on funding and awareness of the needs ofemergency agencies in Mississippi.

Galey said an MCDEMA president can serve two one-year terms.

As far as his duties in Lincoln County, the time he’s spent withMCDEMA has been beneficial for his home area as well.

“People do tend to listen to you more when you’re on the boardat a statewide agency,” Galey said.

But still, he said, under his watch, MCDEMA will strive to helpthose in need, no matter where or who they are.

“That’s what we’ve always done, and it’s what we continue todo,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a member or not that callsus, we want to be able to be there if we’re needed.”