By Jacob Bembry
Greene Publishing, Inc.
The Emergency Operations Center has been renamed in honor of Jim Stanley.
The building was dedicated to him on Wednesday, April 22.
Describing the event as one of the most important that had ever happened to him, Jim stood before family and friends who had gathered to pay tribute to Madison County’s former Emergency Management Director.
Stanley said that Joe Peavy, who was sheriff at the time, had walked across the street from the courthouse to Beggs Department Store, where Stanley served as manager, with the news of the position coming open.
“If Joe hadn’t come and told me that Bernard Wilson was stepping down, I never would have learned of it,” he said.
Stanley said the first person he spoke to about it was Tommy Beggs, who was one of his employers at the time.
“I never got anything but support from Tommy,” he said.
Stanley started out as emergency management director with no office and a part-time salary of $250 per month.
“Alan Sowell told me I was crazy to work for $250 a month,” said Stanley, who also continued to work as the store manager at Beggs.
Joe Peavy shared that when the governor declares a county in a state of emergency, the emergency management director has total control of everything, including law enforcement. He said that he was glad that Stanley had not stuck him directing traffic in Eridu or somewhere during a hurricane or tornado.
Over the years, Stanley was able to make some changes to the Emergency Management department ,including getting an office and hiring Vicki Brown as the department’s Program Coordinator. Later, with the aide of Vicki’s grant writing, the department was able to secure a grant, which helped build the Emergency Operations Center.
Brown replaced Stanley after he retired. After her husband, Mike, got a job in Auburn, Ala., she resigned from the post.
Stanley said that, through the years, Emergency Management had a lot of help from the public, from businesses, from utility companies from law enforcement and from the news media. He said that not one person or group could have done it alone.
Jim and his wife, Sandra, have a son, Jason, and a daughter, Shawn Godwin, and three grandchildren: Terra Godwin, 15, J.B. Godwin, 9, and Sam Stanley, 7.