Bay County's emergency management chief honored for hurricane response

Pictured: Bay County Emergency Management Division Chief Joby Smith, left, and FEPA President Mary Blakeney.

PANAMA CITY, Fla (WJHG/WECP) - On Thursday, Bay County Emergency Management Division Chief Joby Smith was awarded the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association’s (FEPA) “Chad Reed” Emergency Management Professional of the Year distinction for his hard work and dedication during the county’s response to Hurricane Michael.

Smith was honored at the annual FEPA conference held this week in Sandestin.

“I am so humbled and honored to have been recognized by this group of professionals in my field," Smith said, "and I am tremendously grateful to the hundreds of first responders from throughout the state and the nation who came to help us manage this disaster".

“None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support of Bay County administration and the incredible team of employees who work for Bay County. We still have a long recovery ahead, but Bay County and its residents are resilient, and we will emerge stronger than ever.”

The FEPA Emergency Management Professional of the Year Award honors former Dixie County Emergency Management Director Chad Reed.

Reed was Florida’s youngest-ever county emergency management director. He was an active member of FEPA, but in 2010, he tragically died in the line of duty while serving with the Dixie County Sheriff’s Office. Reed was only 33-year's-old.

According to the FEPA website, “In recognition of Chad’s dedication and service to emergency management, FEPA named its highest honor, the Emergency Management Professional of the Year Award, in Chad’s memory”.

The award is bestowed upon “any emergency management professional who has distinguished themselves in the field of emergency management in the state of Florida,” the website notes.