Moving forward positively to keep county safe

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, July 17, 2013

While many people may take a vacation or at least a rest before starting a new job, Polk County Emergency Services Director Michael Crater found himself out in rain and thunderstorms this past weekend ensuring people were safe.

He was supposed to begin his new position on Monday, July 15.

When asked about how he felt to begin his new job early, he humbly shrugged it off, as if anyone would do the same.

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Crater and emergency management’s Penny Storey, as well as other staff, many volunteers and N.C. Department of Transportation employees went above their call of duty during the area’s excessive rains this past weekend that shut down bridges and washed out roads.

Some residents found themselves trapped at their homes for days with EMS frequently calling them to make sure they didn’t need them to bring them anything.

Storey called the Bulletin’s reporter Leah Justice on Sunday afternoon to see if the paper wanted to interview Crater about the roads since several were closed at the time. Storey then used her personal vehicle, with Crater driving, to take the Bulletin and news channel 7 on a tour of damaged areas that the public would have otherwise not gotten to see up close. This allowed the Bulletin to able to inform the public of the closed roads on its website over the weekend.

Polk County is fortunate to have someone with Crater’s experience and love for this county to take the lead with Polk EMS. He has worked with Polk EMS since 1994 and understands it takes a little more dedication to work in a small county.

As Crater said himself, few realize what our volunteers do for safety in this county or the time our paramedics spend with patients compared to larger areas.

While the Bulletin has always had a good relationship with the county’s EMS and other departments, Crater’s first impression as EMS’s new leader was not taken lightly.

– Editorial staff, Tryon Daily Bulletin