Farewell to MEMA Mike
There is so much that goes on behind the scenes getting Pearlington back to its feet. Much of it will never be known; there are just too many people doing too much to even start the telling. They all have something in common, though. They are all heroes, unconditionally loving a little devastated town back to life.
They toil in silence and sometimes relative obscurity, because none of us signed on for glory or recognition. They make their contribution and hold their families more closely each night. But, we all have a bond, an indescribable brother and sisterhood that binds us together forever. It is why the Reunion is so important to me. I have said before that we have shared a common peril, the "Foxhole Effect," and it has forever changed our lives.
This family of volunteers and others goes well beyond the call of duty, because we wish to know on our final day that we tried to make a difference. And when we lose one of our own, it hurts as if we lost a dear heart with whom we made a connection. It is a bond that words cannot describe, nor challenge diminish, nor death sever.
Today we say goodbye to "MEMA Mike" - Michael Dill.
During Hurricane Katrina, Mike served as a member of the State's Emergency Response Team that deployed to Camp Shelby in Forrest County and then to Harrison County to serve as the operations center for the six most southern counties. He also served as the Area Coordinator liaison for Hancock County for several months following Katrina.
The Hancock County Board of Supervisors and Emergency Management Director presented Mike with a plaque honoring him for his service to their county during the disaster. In 2003, Mike also received an appreciation award from the Mississippi Civil Defense/Emergency Management Association for his support and service to the association and the field of emergency management.
Those are the facts. Paula Buhr knew him in a different way, and sends this:
"This is MEMA Mike....my friend and problem-solver. He was with us in Pearlington and helped keep the clinic open. He was there sending supplies to the Pearl Mart....bulldozers, fork lift, port-a-potties, and anything else he could round up. Mike became a friend and an ally of Pearlington. He knew we needed everything. Mike would work hours upon hours looking for supplies.
I am so sad that my friend has died. Our friendship did not end with Mike returning to Jackson and me returning to Houston. His wife Debbie and I became fast friends when they came out to visit my husband, Craig and our children. It was Craig's 60th and we wanted the Dill's to come celebrate. In usual Dill style, he helped set up the Hawaiian Luau. Mike and I have continued to speak probably 2-3 times a week. We just loved each other. He said I reminded him of Debbie and he reminded me of Craig. The bond we made in the disaster was a life long friendship.
I will miss my dear loved friend. Please pray for Debbie and her family."