For most people seeing tornadoes means running for cover.
For Houston County EMA Director, Clark Matthews, the work has just begun.
“You know, we have a lot of weather events here that requires you to come here all through the day and night. You know they don't pick the hour to come and its just long hours,” said Clark Matthews, Houston Co. EMA Director.
Matthews has been the director for 7 years, so that means a long list of missed anniversaries and birthdays. Finally, it’s time to retire; his last day at the EMA is May 31st. Matthews has been through it all—numerous hurricanes, the North Alabama tornadoes, and drills at the Farley Nuclear Plant. But what comes to Dothan Fire Chief Larry Williams’ mind, is the flood of the century.
“We went through a lot of devastation in our city and our county. Of course Clark was there, taking care of every need of everybody that he can. He put in everything he had to try to solve all the problems for the people,” said Williams.
So now the search is on, for someone the community knows they can count on.
“An EMA director is a coordinator, their job is to bring together numerous agencies, numerous resources and put us in a room if you will...to solve problems,” said Williams.
This means coordinating plans, but also being at the disaster zone.
“You got to see a lot of the people who were directly affected and you got a chance to really be hands on with the people and see outcomes. A lot of times at the EMA you are helping folks but you just don’t ever get to see it,” said Matthews.
But the most important thing is the desire to help the community.
Matthews said his greatest achievement while being EMA director was getting outdoor tornado sirens installed. When he began at the Houston County EMA there were no outdoor tornado sirens and now there are 37—all to help keep the community safe, when danger strikes.