As we closed out another FEMA Disaster Recovery Center in Dawson County, I had a chance to talk to a few survivors. Now I know part of our job is hard charging operational tacticians, but there are times where we need to listen to the community.
Now I’ve been to Nebraska before on several teaching/speaking engagements. Outstanding people here – all with huge hearts. Despite challenging conditions, many wanted to share their flooding issues. Many of them have suffered continued flooding as the severe weather in the area has been a constant from March 2019 to present.
That means, they are constantly being flooded.
They ALSO wanted to know what I did and what my role was in the disaster. Explaining the job of External Affairs and the Public Information Officer is relatively easy…because most people said, “Oh, so you get to deal with the media huh?” Yeah, that’s one part of the job, but we probably get the most visibility from the media.
Not only TV, but FM/AM radio is HUGE in the Midwest and Great Plains. One of the disaster survivors talked about how she listens to NPR every day. I smiled and asked what her favorite show was? Without hesitation, she said “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell me!” I gave her my best Bill Kurtis voice impression and she LOLed. In the midst of this disaster, it was wonderful to see her big smile.
We sat and shared memories of listening to Paul Harvey and how America’s youth of today is so entrenched with TV and often forgets about radio being an incredibly viable source of info. I cherish listening to Paul Harvey’s show w/ my Grandfather. Even as a kid, I was specifically excited to hear “And now you’ll hear the rest….of the story…”
As we parted ways, she gave me a hug and said thank you for a good talk about the good being done here in Nebraska for all those who were affected by flooding. As for her recovery? I said I will be interested in hearing the rest of her story.
Later in the afternoon, I made the run to see our friends at Nebraska TV for ongoing FEMA operations and the status of the upcoming FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers.
Yep, I said I was going INTO the studio.
While not a normal occurrence, we PIOs are rarely in studio so it was nice to tour NTV and see their studio setups.
Glad to answer a few questions with our partners in local media to help everyone in the community recover from this disaster.
All the PIO fun on a full Saturday.