The Shinnston News & Harrison County Journal has named Laura Pysz as December’s Citizen on the Month, a program sponsored by Dorsey Funeral Home in Shinnston – locally owned and operated.
By TRINA RUNNER
News & Journal Staff Writer
When most of us hear about a natural disaster, we run out to stock up on bread and milk. When Laura Pysz gets word of one, she kicks into superwoman mode and makes sure everyone remains safe through the crisis. It takes more than a level head to manage a crisis. It takes organization, training, commitment, compassion, empathy and resources. Pysz possesses all of those skills.
She recently presented at the National Weather Association Convention and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials Conference in order to train additional personnel. Her expertise is recognized state-wide and her dedication to her job was elevated last summer after she was deployed to Greenbrier County to help with the Greenbrier Emergency Operations Center following the devastating flood in June.
Currently, Pysz oversees the Bridgeport Emergency Services Council and serves on the Board of Directors for the Emergency Manager Council. She also belongs to the Harrison County Local Emergency Planning Committee and has her Emergency Management Level 2 Accreditation through the state of West Virginia.
While spending a month in Greenbrier County, Pysz saw first-hand how weather can impact the lives of so many people. She helped coordinate donations, volunteers and resources needed during the initial clean-up and she forged relationships with the citizens of the area that continue today.
Her main role is to have plans and procedures in place in case of any natural or man-made disaster, ensuring that both property and life are safe and secured. She takes direction and guidance from the West Virginia Homeland Security and Emergency Management and holds quarterly workshops teaching people how to be prepared.
Since working with Bridgeport, she has secured several grants including $93,000 for radios for the police department. Additionally, she has received a grant for equipment for the special response team, digital sign boards and a mobile command vehicle. Pysz collaborates with other departments to create and execute training wherever she is needed as situations arise.
“I cannot stress how much I love my job,” said Pysz. “I want to continue gaining all the experience and knowledge that I can to protect the residents and property.”
In addition to her work, she also volunteers around the community, often including her two daughters, Danica and Ziva. “I want to give back to the community and having my girls alongside me makes it even more worthwhile,” she said.