Amid blue skies and soaring temperatures, the Partners of Walla Walla County's Project Impact Initiative met to celebrate the efforts of making the County more disaster resistant. The celebration began with a Reception at the historic County Courthouse, hosted by Pam Ray, Chair, Board of Commissioners. Participants included leaders in local businesses, public institutions, non-profit organizations and local/state/federal governments. During the informal gathering the Partners mingled among the various displays of the hazards and potential projects the County plans on pursuing under Project Impact.
Following the reception, Project Impact Partner Valley Transit provided transportation on their new air-conditioned bus to tour the Mill Creek floodplain and stop at the Wildfire Mitigation Demonstration project. The Partners got a first hand look at the multi-hazard risks the citizens of Walla Walla County face throughout the year.
After the tour, all participants gathered under the shade (and cooler temperatures) of 200 year old Sycamore trees in Pioneer Park for the luncheon and speeches by Mike Armstrong, FEMA Associate Director for Mitigation and Jennette Hayner, Walla Walla County Project Impact Team Leader. According to Ms. Hayner: "The County must continue to develop the strong local, state and federal partnerships aimed at reducing the risks from these natural hazards." In appreciation to FEMA, Ms Ray presented Mike Armstrong with a bag of Walla Walla's famous sweet onions (which are so sweet you can eat them like an apple).
After the speeches, the forty plus Partners assembled under the spacious canopy of the park for a group picture. The Celebration then concluded as everyone sought cooler temperatures.