For immediate release - Dec. 1, 2004
TAVARES — During a ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 30, Lake County officials and fellow Emergency Operations Center (EOC) staff wished E. E. “Butch” Whitehead well in his future position with the U.S. military.
The Lake County Emergency Management Division Director resigned last month while accepting a post with U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. A military veteran of more than 30 years, in his new position as a project manager, Whitehead will be responsible for establishing more permanent U.S. military base operations in Qatar, a 4,400 square-mile peninsula country in the Persian Gulf.
Lake County Commissioner Jennifer Hill presents E. E. "Butch" Whitehead with a commemorative plaque as he resigns from his post as Emergency Management Director. Standing by are County Manager Bill Neron and Public Safety Director Gary Kaiser.
“We have all worked closely with Butch over the past couple of years and in particular during our history-making 2004 Hurricane Season,” wrote Department of Public Safety Director Gary Kaiser in a Nov. 18 memorandum announcing Whitehead’s resignation. “Butch’s leadership contribution to Lake County during our time of crisis was tremendous. His experience in crisis situations through his military experience provided a sense of security and stability that was the bedrock of our ability to carry on no matter how many hurricanes came our way.”
During his two-and-a-half-year tenure as Emergency Management Division Director, Whitehead has championed the establishment of a more complete and unified staff in the Lake County EOC. His efforts to increase disaster awareness and to better prepare staff and citizens of potential hazards were put to the test this past summer when three hurricanes swiped past Lake County.
“I’ve brought the program along, but there’s still lots to be done,” Whitehead said. “I think the understanding of how we need to improve some things as a result of the past hurricane season will assist in that.”
Known for his cool demeanor, Whitehead led the Lake County EOC in effectively responding to the community’s needs during the hurricanes of Charley, Frances and Jeanne. His consistent performance earned him the Lake County nickname of “storm hero,” which was emblazoned across an over-sized farewell card at the ceremony.
“When Butch leaves here, he can honestly say he left this place a lot better off then he arrived,” said County Manager Bill Neron.
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