Terry Stoltzman, Anoka County's emergency services manager, has come up with a unique and award-winning way to reinforce the troops who are called on to deal with nature's forces.
Terry Stoltzman, Anoka County's emergency services manager
As historic rain and flooding washed through southeastern Minnesota, Terry Stoltzman
waded into the pools and sludge, searching desperately for a comrade in arms.
Stoltzman is Anoka County's emergency services manager, but a disaster is a disaster and when sirens sound, Stoltzman jumps, regardless of where the calls for help take him.
In 2007, they steered him to Caledonia, where he
lent a hand to his
Houston County counterpart.
"We shared an experience," said Stoltzman
Out of necessity, Stoltzman wants to share the wealth.
developed a plan, unique in Minnesota, that will allow more emergency-services personnel to band together and coordinate plans to move beleaguered citizens away from the eye of the storm -- or fire, tornado, flood, bridge collapse or other catastrophic tremor of nature.
supervises a staff of two in Anoka County
In an emergency, that won't do.
recruited already-trained personnel who are paid for on-call services.
is Minnesota's first county to employ such a system.
For Stoltzman's efforts, the county recently was named a 2010-11 Local Government Innovations Award winner by the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs
and the county will be honored on April 13.
County emergency services teams are generally small.
has eight people on its staff and Ramsey County four or five, Stoltzman
"How do we have a staff, a model that can run 24/7 in an emergency?
He was once a paid on-call firefighter in Robbinsdale.
still has his
fire shield as a reminder.
"You got paid when you were there," he
recalled saying to himself.
"Duh ... you've done this before.
Let's do it again."
Last August, he
hired Ryan Kelzenberg, who has emergency management experience with Ramsey County.
then hired on-call workers who had experience fighting fires and medical emergencies.
began preparing for his
emergency-services role in Anoka County years ago, when he
was a police explorer in Brooklyn Park.
He rose to explorer captain, then community service officer.
He was a training officer with the fire department.
Then, 10 years ago in August, he
was asked, "Why not be an emergency manager?"
When Anoka County's
Carlos Avery Reserve was set afire two years ago, Stoltzman
oversaw the coordination of helicopters dousing the flames.
In 2007, he
was among the personnel trying to sort through the chaos of the Interstate 35W bridge collapse.
"Floods are a slow-moving thing," he
"We're always planning for them.