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2012-05-31 digital edition

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2012-05-31 / General Stories

SBA Honors Outstanding Disaster Recovery Efforts

Mike Fisher of Bastrop, Texas, received the Phoenix Award for Outstanding Contributions to Disaster Recovery by a Public Official. The wildfire that started Labor Day weekend in Bastrop County burned for 30 days, scorching 34,000 acres and destroying more than 1,700 homes and businesses – the worst wildfire in Texas’ history.

Fisher, the county’s emergency management coordinator, calmly established protocols for the federal and state first responders who arrived on the scene to help. Aware that a “team-first” approach was critical to the task at hand – saving property and protecting lives – Fisher took the lead managing evacuations, firefighting, debris disposal and restoration of utilities. He also provided timely updates to the public and the media. Fisher’s leadership and insistence on establishing good relationships with the agencies involved in long-term recovery made it possible for Bastrop County to begin the rebuilding process.

Others receiving the award were: a restaurant owner in New Jersey who rebuilt after Hurricane Irene last year, a Mississippi mayor who led recovery efforts after a tornado destroyed the entire town, and a North Carolina volunteer who coordinated the rebuilding of a small town devastated by tornadoes. They were each presented with Phoenix Awards during the U.S. Small Business Administration’s National Small Business Week 2012 celebration.

“These individuals displayed tremendous courage and resourcefulness in the midst of several devastating disasters,” said SBAAdministrator Karen G. Mills. “The Phoenix Award acknowledges their heroic efforts, and is a token of appreciation for their contributions to the economic recovery of their communities.”

SBA makes low-interest, taxpayer-backed disaster loans to homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit organizations of all sizes. More information about the disaster assistance program is available at www.sba.gov/disaster

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