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Be Prepared Awards Recognize Volunteers and Communities

Ceremony -- 10 a.m. Friday

 Governor’s Press Room, Nebraska State Capitol

Lincoln, Neb. — On Friday, Sept. 23, 2016, Lt. Gov. Mike Foley will present this year’s Be Prepared awards, recognizing volunteers and community organizations for excellence in emergency preparedness and disaster response. He will be joined by Nebraska Emergency Management Agency Assistant Director Bryan Tuma and Nebraska Citizen Corps Coordinator Ryan Lowry to present seven emergency preparedness awards.


Presented during Nebraska Preparedness Month, the Be Prepared awards program is in its ninth year of honoring Nebraskans who volunteer their time and energy to support preparedness in Nebraska communities. The awards are sponsored by the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency in partnership with the Nebraska Citizen Corps Program and the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center.


“Preparing yourself, your family, and your community for a disaster or emergency is important,” said Lowry. “Those being honored with the Be Prepared Awards understand that our communities are stronger and more resilient when we are prepared. Their commitment to disaster preparedness and response is truly appreciated. ”


Jim Green of McCool Junction will receive the local hero award, recognizing extraordinary service and leadership in helping residents in an emergency situation. Green is being honored for his role in making sure residents of McCool Junction were prepared for and able to recover from flood waters that impacted the community in June 2015. His efforts to minimize the impact of the flood helped residents and the community recover quickly.


John Markwell of Lincoln will earn the excellence in community preparedness award, which recognizes an individual or organization committed to creating a stronger community through preparedness planning and disaster preparation to enhance community readiness and resilience. Markwell is associate dean and professor in biochemistry in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has led the effort to ensure faculty, staff and students are better prepared to respond to an emergency situation, through the development of emergency action plans and communicating with students the importance of knowing what to do in an emergency.


Box Butte County Fair Board of Hemingford: excellence in community preparedness award, which recognizes an individual or organization committed to creating a stronger community through preparedness planning and disaster preparation to enhance community readiness and resilience. The Box Butte County Fair Board is being recognized for their initiative to bring partners together and conduct a disaster exercise, so that multiple agencies and organizations would be better prepared to respond to a disaster or emergency during the county fair.


Amy Zaruba  of Albion will be honored with the excellence in preparedness education and outreach award, which honors an individual or group demonstrating a commitment and dedication to the safety of the public by volunteering to train, educate and promote preparedness. Zarub volunteers much of her time to a providing educational and training opportunities for a number of disaster preparedness and response organizations. Her commitment to ensuring the public knows what to do in the event of a disaster helps make her community more resilient.


Margo Riekes, Better Business Bureau of Omaha received the Citizen Corps partner Program of the year which honors an agency or organization demonstrating a significant commitment to create strong partnerships with other preparedness organizations. The Better Business Bureau of Nebraska, South Dakota, the Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa teamed up with volunteer organizations in the region to create the “ReBUILD with TRUST” booklet for communities impacted by a disaster. This booklet helps disaster survivors navigate the rebuilding and recovery process with trusted agencies and organizations.


Hall County Community Organizations Active in Disaster of Grand Island will earn the  Citizen Corps Council of the year, which honors an outstanding local Citizen Corps Council for their efforts to collaborate with multiple partners and promote community preparedness initiatives. The Hall County COAD has quickly grown into a group that truly embraces the whole community approach to disaster preparedness. More than 20 community organizations and response agencies meet regularly to discuss ways to promote disaster preparedness in Hall County.


Randy Haddix of Sidney will be recognized as Citizen Corps volunteer of the year award, recognizing his outstanding commitment to the Region 21 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Haddix volunteers his time as the Training Coordinator for Region 21 CERT. He ensures that volunteers are not only trained in basic disaster preparedness and response, but also makes sure they have opportunities to interact with other first responder agencies that they may be working alongside during a disaster or emergency.