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Cooper named new WEMA director

Jared Felkins jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Nov 9, 2013 at 12:51 AM

Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto announced Friday he named Joey Cooper as the new Wilson County Emergency Management Agency director.

Cooper started climbing the ladder at WEMA 24 years ago as a volunteer. He quickly transitioned to the road and received his emergency medical training and fire certification.

“First off, I am very honored to serve Wilson County as the EMA director,” Cooper said.  “We are starting a new era here at WEMA, and I look forward to working with the mayor’s office, Wilson County Commission and WEMA employees.”

Cooper said he believes this profession is a calling and not a choice; that one must be dedicated and determined to make the best out of every situation.

Throughout his tenure he has taken every class offered and achieved paramedic status while also taking classes in advance firefighting, emergency management and hazmat.  He transitioned from paramedic and firefighter to second lieutenant, then to lieutenant then to captain, then to battalion chief.  He is a Hazmat specialist and has been a team leader for 15 years. 

“Cooper is organized, detailed and goal oriented,” Wilson County Mayor Randall Hutto said. “Most of all he loves and believes in the WEMA organization.”

Cooper will be sworn into office Nov. 18 and will be confirmed by the commission later that evening.

“The process has been long, hard, and the decision was difficult. I knew that this position was a very important position to fill and needed time and patience to find the right fit for Wilson County,” Hutto sad.  “This was an intricate process because this person has to be well rounded in many aspects for the job.”

When looking for the right person, Hutto said he had five things in mind.  Someone who could provide the best emergency services for the citizens of Wilson County, someone who could engage our employees and keep them moving forward, someone to communicate with commissioners on the program, someone who could relate and communicate with all the other emergency service organizations within the county and someone who can move this organization forward.

 “I believe we have found that person in Mr. Cooper,” Hutto said.  “I wish him well as he takes over. I also would like to thank [former director John] Jewell as he moves on and congratulate him and his team on all their accomplishments while he was in office as our WEMA director.”

Cooper was selected among seven candidates, Lee Bowling, William Glover, Anthony Grande, Mike Henderlight, Alan Kaiser and Steve Spencer. 

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