Guy takes ribbing, congrats from peers

By Mary Clarkin
Hutchinson News – April 3, 2014

Bill Guy, Reno County Emergency Management Director, right, gets a hug from Beth Reed, Administrative Assistant in Republic County Emergency Management, Thursday after a KEMA meeting where Guy was honored for his years of service before his upcoming retirement. Photo by Sandra J. Milburn.

Bill Guy, Reno County Emergency Management Director, right, gets a hug from Beth Reed, Administrative Assistant in Republic County Emergency Management, Thursday after a KEMA meeting where Guy was honored for his years of service before his upcoming retirement. Photo by Sandra J. Milburn.

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Reno County Emergency Management Director Bill Guy will give up a job he said was his life for the last 18 years.

The retiring Guy turned emotional as he spoke Thursday at the Reno County Courthouse to approximately 40 people attending a South Central Regional meeting of the Kansas Emergency Management Association.

He collected certificates of recognition and hugs, and he stage-whispered quick quips to the friendly “roasting” he took from his peers. They kidded him about his age and his golf score. And they spoke admiringly of his sense of humor.

Guy is “always able to crack a joke,” said Brian Stone, with Cowley County Emergency Management and past president of KEMA – a role Guy once held, too. Stone considered humor a good trait in a tough profession.

Guy knows how to balance a sense of humor and seriousness, said Angie Morgan, assistant director with the Kansas Division of Emergency Management. She said she tried unsuccessfully over the years to recruit Guy to come work for the agency.

Hired in 1996 to head Reno County’s Emergency Management Department, Guy’s last day on the job will be April 30. Reno County has advertised the position.

The moment that will stick with him the rest of his life, he said, was 10:45 a.m. Jan. 17, 2001. Natural gas explosions destroyed two buildings in downtown Hutchinson, and gas eruptions kept occurring in other areas of the city and turned deadly Jan. 18.

“During that gas crisis, my first shift was 113 and a half hours long,” Guy said.

The regional meeting of the 19-county group was supposed to take place in Harvey County, but was purposely rescheduled for Hutchinson.

“Welcome to the SC Regional KEMA MTG. Sit down & shut up” Guy had written on the whiteboard inside the meeting room. The surprise presentations came right before noon.

The job has been “a wonderful ride,” Guy said. Deciding to retire was the hardest decision he’s made in his life, but now he needs a rest, he said.

“I thank God for the opportunity. I thank God for you guys,” he said.

People rose and applauded.

Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster



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