RALEIGH, Miss. (WJTV) – For the last 18 years, Heather Easterling has been there for the people of Smith County. Whether she was dispatching 911 calls for the Sheriff’s Department or fighting fires with the Raleigh V-F-D, Heather is always looking out for her neighbors. That lifetime of commitment made her the perfect Honoree for November’s Focused on Those Who Serve Award.
Heather Easterling had no idea that 12 News and AMR were going to honor her with November’s Focused on Those Who Serve Award. We sprung the surprise at this week’s Smith County Board of Supervisors meeting. In true Heather fashion, she immediately gave the credit to others.
Heather says, “If it wasn’t for my volunteers, my law enforcement, my EMS, my Board of Supervisors, the people of my community, I couldn’t fulfill the duties of my job.”
And what a job! In addition to being EMA Director, Heather is also the fire coordinator, the 911 coordinator, the flood plain administrator, *and* she’s still on the Raleigh Volunteer Fire Department.
Carlton McNeer is also on the Raleigh V-F-D.
He says, “Well, if she’s there, it’s covered. She’s got it. We just kind of back her up.”
Heather’s known to assist neighboring V-F-D’s, as well.
Jimmy Smith is the Pineville Volunteer Fire Department Chief.
He says, “Day or night, 24-7, Heather will respond, whether it’s an auto accident in the Pineville area or any other areas around, she will respond and never hesitates a minute.”
Smith County Sheriff Charlie Crumpton adds, “She literally had her heart and soul into whatever that she has done, since she’s worked for me and as Director of Emergency Management, she’s just a great employee and a great person.”
Jimmy Burns works with Heather at the Smith County Emergency Management Agency.
He chips in, “When a call comes out, Heather is going, and when Heather gets there, she knows what to do.”
Folks in Smith County can rest a little easier knowing Heather is always ready to roll.
Benji Ford is the Smith County Board of Supervisors President.
He says, “It’s great, especially when we have like storms or a disaster, you know, we’ve got to have someone like her to on the background of it.”
And Heather’s dedication extends long after a call is over.
Nikki Allen is and EMT and member of the Raleigh Volunteer Fire Department.
She says, “She’s always there for moral support after a bad call. You can always call her, any hour of the night, with any problem you have, and she is going to answer that phone, and she is going to be there for you.”
Carlton McNeer concludes, “Dedication, commitment, professionalism, but most important, I think, is compassion for all the citizens.”
Heather sums it up like this, “You have to love it to do it, and my main focus is on the people of my community.”
Heather is also a trained drone pilot. Smith County EMA now has a drone to help with search and rescue efforts and damage assessments.