Anniston, Ala. - Magnum Waldrop of Attalla is a busy guy. Not only is he working on an EMT certification, he is one of eight Alabamians who are working for FEMA to help local governments and persons affected by the March 19-20 storms and tornadoes.
Six of the local hires are working with FEMA’s Public Assistance Program assisting their alma mater, Jacksonville State University, repair and rebuild. Magnum and Rainbow City resident Anita Williams are members of the FEMA Logistics Team, which ensures the smooth operation of the Joint Field Office, the base for FEMA and Alabama’s Emergency Management Agency disaster response operations.
Williams’ experienced eye for quality and attention to detail make her assignment at FEMA to the Logistics team ideal. Her past work experience “fits” with her FEMA assignment. As a robot welder operator in a previous position in private industry, Williams had multiple assignments in producing one part of the finished product. And, because of her experience as a lead driver and fleet manager, she knows how important that all parts of an operation must work together to ensure success.
Williams readily admits that she prayed to get a job helping people. When she saw the notice online that FEMA was looking for local residents, she offers that she “knew I was destined to come to work with FEMA.”
Waldrop’s work experience shows he may have been working towards getting to FEMA all along. In fact, at the time the March disaster occurred, Waldrop was working as an intern at Gadsden-Etowah County Emergency Management Agency, managing the EMA’s warehouse that served to distribute nonperishable items to community citizens who needed items such as cleaning materials or other donated items.
Before getting the internship, he was a volunteer at the Gadsden-Etowah County EMA for six years. And, as noted, he’s working to be a qualified EMT, which he’ll likely put to use as a member of the
Iva Lee Volunteer Fire Department.
In April before he joined, Waldrop and others from the EMA staff attended a Gadsden City Council meeting where he was recognized to be the first recipient of the newly created Chatmon Sturdivant Volunteer of the Year Award by the Gadsden-Etowah County EMA. “I was completely surprised,” he said. The award is named for the long-time volunteer and now shelter manager of the East Gadsden Storm Shelter.
Both Williams and Waldrop have applied to become FEMA reservists. Reservists are federal employees who work on an on-call, intermittent basis. Reservists are a key element of FEMA’s workforce during declared incidents and disasters who staff Joint Field Offices (JFOs) and perform a wide variety of tasks in support of FEMA’s response, recovery and mitigation mission areas.
Both Williams and Waldrop echo most FEMA reservists when they are asked why they want to work for FEMA. “I can make a difference,” they say.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.