The Fayette County Commissioners have appointed a new Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) director following the retirement of Fulton Terry.
Since October of 1993 when Terry became the director, he has been providing training and equipment for first responders to emergencies. Terry has also furnished information to help county residents in times of crisis. Following his retirement, the position was filled with a new director, Melissa Havens, who said she is looking to keep the community safe and sound.
“I know that (Melissa Havens) interned under Fulton years ago,” commissioner Dan Dean said. “She was somewhat familiar with the operation already, but we also had about a two-month overlap where she started working so the transition would be seamless. I haven’t had much of a chance to talk with her since she took over other than making sure she got the vehicle that Fulton used that came from Homeland Security years ago. We also helped get the calling numbers and phones situated so that people can still call the same numbers to get the assistance they need. I know Melissa is also applying for more grants that may be available from the state and federal government to be able to offset some costs.”
Havens, a Fayette County native, said that this is her community and that means she cares a great deal about it. She is married to Ben Havens, a captain at the Washington Fire Department, and together they have two children, Hunter and River.
“(Fayette County) is where my family lives and my kids grow up at, and I think that it is super important for this position that you are invested into the community,” Havens said. “I am actually very excited. I had been working at the EMA, it’s been about 11 or 12 years ago, and left to have my kids and I ended up staying at home with them. I thought my opportunities were gone at the (EMA) because I had decided to stay at home, but it actually kind of worked out because Fulton wasn’t ready to leave then. So now my kids are older and it’s a great opportunity at a great time in my life to take on the responsibility. It worked out well.”
Among her many qualifications for the role of director are several degrees that will be utilized while in the position. She graduated from Miami Trace and went on to receive her associate’s in hazardous material technology from Ohio University. Additionally, she returned to school and obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Findlay in environmental, safety and health management.
“I’ll be honest, I am very excited to be back,” Havens said. “I truly enjoyed working in the office before and working with all of our partners in the community, and I am excited to see that there are a lot of people that are still at the different response agencies that I worked with before. There are plenty of new faces, but I am excited to work and meet them all while at the EMA.”
Havens can be reached at the Fayette County EMA at 133 S. Main Street (Suite L-15) in Washington Court House or by calling (740) 335-8264.
“If anyone has a question they can feel free to call me,” Havens said. “I really appreciate the opportunity to be director of Fayette County EMA and look forward to working with and meeting with responders and the community.”