POMEROY — The new Meigs County Emergency Management Agency Center finally celebrated its opening with an open house Tuesday morning.
The ceremony was followed by a commemoration of the 25 years Robert Byer has directed the Emergency Management Agency, the 59 years he’s been in public and dedicated the building to him. The building, officially named the Robert E. Byer Emergency Operations Center, has been operating since January, with no emergencies so far, according to Russell Carson, deputy director of Emergency Management for Meigs County.
Carson said the new building has three sections: EMS offices, a 911 dispatch center and an emergency management section. A helipad will be added in front of the proposed EMS building for squads, with Medflight permanently moving their helicopter from Wellston to Pomeroy.
“This is really a blessing and a feather in the cap for Meigs County to get a facility like this,” he said. “Because it’s really state of the art.”
Carson began the ceremony by introducing the building, followed by a short speech from County Commissioner Mike Bartrum.
Next, representatives from different congressional and state offices, including Dan Haliburton, representing Congressman Bill Johnson; Todd Shelton, representing Sen. Rob Portman; Kathleen Young, representing Gov. John Kasich; and Jeanne Wilson, from Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office. Each representative presented Byer with a commemorative personal letter from the aforementioned elected officials.
Andrew Elder, of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, gave a congratulatory speech before handing the ceremony back to Carson, who had a special surprise for Byer: two colonel badges.
“I believe, Robert, you walked in and asked Bob what his title was or what he went by, and he said, ‘I’ve been around here so long they call me ‘The Colonel,’” Carson said. “Kentucky has theirs, Meigs County has ours.”
Lastly, Byer said that he’d created a home for himself during his career.
“I do know that I’ve filled my years here in the county, that I’ve acquired three families,” he said, fighting tears. “My immediate family, Volunteer Fire/EMS or law enforcement, and last, but not least, my EMA family.”
Meigs County Emergency Operations Center is located at 41859 Pomeroy Pike.