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BOC honors the heroes of Tropical Storm Irma
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The Newton County Board of Commissioners recognizes workers for their work during Tropical Storm Irma. - photo by Staff Report

COVINGTON, Ga. - The Newton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) took time at its Tuesday night meeting to recognize the county workers who went above and beyond the call of duty to serve and protect the public as Tropical Storm Irma was battering the county Sept. 11.

BOC Chairman Marcello Banes thanked the county’s Fire Services, Sheriff’s Office, Roads Department and Landfill staff for the work they did during the storm.

“We want to thank you guys. Your service to our community is so valuable. Words can’t express how much we appreciate you,” he said.

“That was a pretty rough storm for our community. There were a lot of trees down, a lot of lines down, a lot of stuff that was destroyed. We are so grateful for you and the work that you put in to get the roads back open, to make sure that people were safe – just doing what you do and you do it well. And we want to take this opportunity now to say a big ‘thank you’. We appreciate the work that you do.”

County Manager Lloyd Kerr echoed Banes’ sentiments.

“This is a testament to the type of employees that we have,” he said, “all of these people came to work without hesitation.

“While a lot of people were safe at home, we had folks out on the street, we had people working on top of the landfill, we had deputies patrolling. This is just a real testament to the quality and dedication of our employees.”

Sheriff Ezell Brown also thanked the employees

“I just want all of you to know we appreciate your service. We had more than 76 deputies on the road that night to work in conjunction with everyone here. We logged in more than 2000 hours during the storm and we just appreciate the fact that we can come together and work as one team,” he said.

The Newton County Sheriff’s Office responded to 492 calls for service during the 28-hour period from Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. through Sept. 12 at 2 p.m. Newton County firefighters responded to 133 calls during that same period.

County Emergency Management Agency Director Jody Nolan told commissioners the sheriff’s office continued to respond even as utility companies ceased operations due to high winds.

“By 10 p.m. Monday night, all utility companies quit responding to down lines because sustained winds were up above 25 mph and wind gusts were up above 45 mph. So we pretty much ceased operations, other than the sheriff’s department. And they continued to go out and respond to calls, to put barricade tape in front of roads, to clear small debris, to try to warn the citizens of the down trees. So even though others couldn’t respond, they were out there during the storm.”