Hurricane heroes of 2020

By Maj. Jerry Bell, Emergency Manager

(Editor’s Note–This is the second part in a series of stories in recognition of Hurricane Heroes of 2020. Continuations will be printed in an ongoing fashion over the next few weeks.)

The next group of our Hurricane Heroes is our city sewer, street, and gas employees. They work for a man who had dedicated so many years of his life to help keep Dequincy running. Everybody knows and admires Eddy Dahlquist, the Department Head of our Public Works. Eddy can do everything and he is a hands on leader who gets the job done. Eddy and his men worked tirelessly all during and after the storm to provide services for our city.

Our city is so fortunate to have Hank Frazier in charge of our sewer department. While most cities’ sewer went down, ours kept going and it is all due to Hank’s knowledge, and expertise in his field.

Every Mayor knows that one of the worst nightmares is when the sewer goes down. Hank was quick to put through me requests for additional generators to keep the pumps going. That was quick thinking on his part. When the trees fell on the gas meters and lines, this caused leaks. The quick actions of the gas personnel prevented additional disasters by plugging the leaks. Everyone in the street department worked so many hours to keep DeQuincy up and going after the storm passed. Our street department personnel cleared our roads in record time. Our police also helped in this endeavor.

Another group of city employees sometimes forgotten are our city clerk, Pat Brummett, and her crew at city hall. They do the hardest work which is the paperwork to keep the city going especially after the Hurricane is over and they have to deal with FEMA requests. They are definitely heroes or heroines.

I would like to bring special attention to Anna who assisted me after the Hurricanes by keeping a list of all my tasking and also by putting out necessary information to our citizens on social media which I know little about. There is not enough space to name all our city employees by name but you know who you are and your supervisor and Mayor knows what you did and our city is thankful of your sacrifice during and after the storms.

I remember very clearly the night of Hurricane Laura. It was like “Deja Vu”, meaning I been here before. A group of us were riding out the storm at our command post, the police building. Former Mayor Buddy Henagan, now deceased, had the foresight to build that great building so that it would stand up to Category 5.

Although he did many great things for DeQuincy, this was one of the best as far as I am concerned. I rode out three hurricanes in that building and I felt safe. Thank you Buddy. I remember several things that night. I remember that Pastor Carlton Jackson rode that storm out with us. We all held hands near our flag pole and Pastor Jackson led us in a prayer asking Jesus to protect us and our town. I even remember our state inmates being with us. I felt even safer with Bro. Jackson being there with us.

Bro. Jackson continued praying during the storm. Around midnight, something hit the top of our building, it sounded like dynamite; we all ran into the hallway for safety and I remember Bro. Jackson praising God very loudly and it was a comfort. Of course after it was over, we laughed about it but it was not funny during the time of the incident.

(To be continued)