Carter County EMA director retires
Published 2:47 pm Friday, February 12, 2021
BY TY BUTLER
Gary Smith is a person who has served his country for over 20 years in the military, spent time as a reserve deputy for Carter County’s Sheriff’s Department, and worked as the Director of Carter County’s Emergency Management Agency.
“The main mission of Emergency Management is to provide support to EMS, Fire, and Law Enforcement personnel,” said Smith. “Additionally, EMA provides training to First Responders, schools, childcare facilities, schools, and other entities,” Smith added. Beginning February 24, Gary Smith will start a new lease on life as a retired man. However, his love for Carter County and its EMA will always remain. Smith, a veteran who values camaraderie and teamwork, couldn’t help but recognize his partners when speaking of his own legacy. “I want people to remember that I was a team player, along with all of the other first responders,” said Smith. The 1979 Hampton Alumni spent the latter years of his career assisting workers in crisis situations — one of those incidents being the famous NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. when his plane took a dive into East Tennessee’s soil. The 2019 incident made national news, as Smith went to work. As the director of EMA, Smith was well-prepared for the situation. And though his long run is coming to an end, the soon-to-be-retiree couldn’t help but contain his excitement for EMA’s new facility, which Smith had fought to obtain for two years. “We worked long and hard to get this facility, and now I can walk away with a sense of accomplishment. The county is now in the best shape it’s ever been in to handle a major incident … and I feel good about that,” Smith said. The new and improved building not only provides a superior space when compared to its counterpart, but the new EMA building also proves to be a multi-use area. Recently, surrounding law enforcement officers used the building’s main room to support training lectures. His pursuit of making Carter County a safer place will be recognized for many years by its residents. “Each and every one of you is important to us. We are here for you and I will never forget that,” Smith said.