Emergency management crews get recognized for their work and get to know each other

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Emergency management crews from around the state came together for their annual awards banquet at the Ramada Downtown.

Throughout the year, emergency management departments deal with tornadoes, floods and all sorts of weather and Thursday, several were recognized for their work that keeps citizens safe.

13 NEWS’ Melissa Brunner and Shawn Wheat MC’d the banquet.

Awards were presented to recognize new members to the emergency management profession, as well as for outstanding service and a Professional of the Year Award.

There was also a passing of the gavel from outgoing KEMA President Laurie Harrison to Russel Stukey, Director of Emergency Management for Coffey County.

Stukey said aside from just recognition, these conferences help staff from different counties get to know each other.

"Getting all, or most of, the emergency managers together just to associate with each other and make those connections,” Stukey said. “So that the first time you meet someone isn't midnight when the water is rising or the wind is blowing."

Shawnee County Emergency Management was awarded with the President's Choice Award for their work in hosting the conference and banquet for the past three years.

Along with MC duties, 13 NEWS’ Shawn Wheat was presented as the Kansas Emergency Management Association Honorary Member for all he's done as a member of the news media.

Outstanding Service – 211 Help Line

Leon H. Mannell E.M. Support Profesional – Chad Omitt, Topeka National Weather Service

Honorary Member – Shawn Wheat, WIBW-TV

Col. Mahlon G. Weed Outstanding New E.M. of the Year – Rex Beemer, Ford County Emergency Management

Owen U. Turrentine E.M. Professional of the Year – Mickie Helberg, Graham County Emergency Management

President’s Choice Award – Shawnee County Emergency Management