Pam Garrison honored with FEPA Distinguished Service AwardDisaster Preparation Disaster Recovery
Pam Garrison, the former Disaster Response Coordinator for the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, is the recipient of the FEPA 2021 Distinguished Service Award.
FEPA – which stands for Florida Emergency Preparedness Association – noted Garrison's "multiple contributions to the statewide Emergency Management program in Florida during her career."
She retired at the end of 2020 following a career that began when she joined the Conference in January 2005. That was about five months after Hurricane Charley caused an estimated $16 billion in damages to Florida.
It was the first of seven hurricanes that struck Florida in 2004 and 2005, leading to the formal creation of the Disaster Recovery arm of the Conference.
The Book of Discipline requires all conferences to have a Disaster Response Coordinator, but until 2004 that position was a volunteer and there was little central organization. The damage wrought by those savage storms and others showed the need for a greater commitment.
"I'm absolutely ecstatic for her and I'm looking forward to seeing her receive the award," new Coordinator Trish Warren said. "I would think of it as a lifetime achievement award. One of the things about Pam that really stood with me is the relationships she built over the last 13-14 years she has been with the Conference. That set up Disaster Recovery for success."
Those relationships included multiple partnerships that added valuable resources to the recovery ministry.
In an earlier interview, Warren noted how Garrison's experience and drive to help those in need changed her life.
"I recall sitting in my training class and listening to Pam and she shared some of her experience in this ministry. Her passion for this ministry was evident in just the first few minutes of hearing her speak," she said.
"During those few days of training, I never imagined how much of an impact Pam would have on my life. Not only has she been my supervisor, but she has also been my mentor and I am so blessed to now call her my friend."
Tricia Hall, the Conference Disaster Recovery Grants & Finance Manager, said the award is a recognition of the wide-ranging impact of Garrison's work.
"Honestly, this is a huge honor for Pam," Hall said. "It speaks to how involved she's been during this time in responding to disasters. Her leadership has been amazing, but she was never in it for personal glory.
"For her, it was about helping employees reach their full potential and being the hands and feet of Christ for those in need. That's the biggest thing I learned from Pam. This really was a ministry for her. Every situation was an opportunity for us to share the love and care of Christ."
Garrison's service will be recognized and honored on February 5 during a FEPA webinar.
Joe Henderson is News Content Editor for flumc.org.
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