Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann and some other state lawmakers were in Pascagoula today and like Sally, the direction of the meeting with Mississippi’s top politicians and local heroes and first responders in Jackson County took a turn for the better.
Leaves gently swaying in the breeze, a county worker exiting the Jackson County EOC, pillow in hand, this: the calm after the storm. Lt. Governor Delbert Hosemann said, “We thought we’d have a very difficult day, but a lot of prayers were answered and a lot less damage, and we’re really excited about that.”
But the past few days, it’s been all hands on deck here and all Coastal Mississippi counties as Sally made her way to land. Senator Brice Wiggins said, “That’s the stuff that I don’t think people see. I don’t think they see that our first responders, law enforcement, and our operations workers are out here working on this. They’ve been up here for three days straight without any sleep.”
These local heroes stayed up for a few extra hours longer in the final stretch thankful that, like Sally, the direction of the lieutenant governor’s visit changed focus, from damage assessment to current needs moving forward. Senator Jeremy England said, “When we get an event like this come through it puts our first responders right on the front lines. We take notice of them more. It really draws our attention to what needs to be done. We talked with Director Etheridge about what we need to do there with fire departments. We talked with Sheriff Mike Ezell about what they could use. We learned where they are handcuffed by legislation in some areas. When we get to hear from, meet with them, we have Lieutenant Governor with us, we’re able to go back and do what needs to be done so that we are better prepared next time and for any other disasters in the county.”
Lt. Gov. Hosemann said, “Last year our Senators here devoted about $4.5 million dollars to volunteer fire departments. I expect a similar amount this year. We’re replacing the trucks and what not, and we’re talking to them about additional equipment they need in addition to trucks. It should be part of that legislation.”
Until then, these local heroes will finally be going home and getting some rest at least until the next time.