SLV residents honored at CEMA conference

ALAMOSA—Each year the Colorado Emergency Management Association (CEMA) and Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management host a large conference for Colorado responders. This successful event provides a host of wonderful speakers, educational break-out sessions and networking opportunities. Each year more than 400 personnel participate in the annual Emergency Management Conference.  

The conference also includes a yearly banquet and awards ceremony. Some of the awards include the following: Emergency Manager of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Mike Gelski Award for Outstanding Service and a Public/Private Partnership Award. The San Luis Valley Region was the big winner at the conference this year receiving no less than four awards.

First and foremost Richard Wetzler from Costilla County received both the Volunteer of the Year Award and Mike Gelski Award for Outstanding Service. Wetzler has been an active member of the Alpine First Response Team at Forbes Trinchera for many years. He has also been a committed member of the SLV Citizen Corps almost since its inception. Wetzler is a gentle, kind and humble spirit who represents a wonderful volunteer spirit.  

Terry Wetherill received the Emergency Manager of the Year Award. Wetherill is the Mineral County Emergency Manager at the Mineral County Sheriff’s Office. He is part of the Search and Rescue Team, Mineral County Fire Department and Mineral County EMS. Wetherill is a retired veteran after 29 years of service in the Armed Forces. He has worked with the Town of Creede and Mineral County to improve emergency preparedness and response.  

Francis Song received the 2016 Rookie of the Year Award. Song is the Alamosa County Emergency Manager and also works as a Victims Advocate for the Alamosa County Sheriff’s Office. He is also a veteran having served as an officer in the United States Air Force. Song has set the bar very high for emergency management taking on many projects and initiatives in his short time with Alamosa County. Song began his career with Alamosa County in August of 2015 and is constantly absorbed in various activities.  

Congratulations to all award recipients and thanks for representing this special region.

Cutline: From left are CEMA honorees Terry Wetherill, Richard Wetzler and Francis Song.