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Norwalk’s Deluca honored as Connecticut’s emergency manager of the year

From left,
From left, Mayor Harry Rilling, Norwalk Fire Department Emergency Management Deputy Director Michele Deluca, Fire Commissioner Irene Dixon and Fire Chief Denis McCarthy.

NORWALK, Conn. – Feel good, Norwalk – you have one of the top emergency management directors in the state, according to state and local leaders.

Norwalk Emergency Management Deputy Director Michele Deluca was honored Wednesday as the Connecticut 2014 Emergency Manager of the Year in a ceremony in the Norwalk fire house, attended by politicians and local emergency management personnel.

“She really is a main player in this whole process of emergency management,” said Robert Kenney, regional emergency management coordinator for the state. “Without her involvement, at this point the region would not be in the position it has been in when these major storms have hit.”

Fire Chief Denis McCarthy listed Deluca’s accomplishments, which include getting a $1 million Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant for a new emergency management center. “Everyone recognized her as setting an example for successful grant application and management,” McCarthy said.

Deluca, who has been with the fire department for seven years, oversaw construction of the center, McCarthy said. She developed software for a virtual emergency management center which provides for better coordination of manpower and equipment, he said. She formed a regional long-term recovery team and worked to fortify mass care techniques and emergency sheltering, he said.

The accolades rolled in. State Sen. Bob Duff (D-25) called Deluca “an employer’s dream,” who works quietly and effectively to move Norwalk forward, “one of the best assets in the city of Norwalk.” Norwalk Public Library Director Chris Bradley said Deluca keeps her head about her when all the people around her are losing theirs. Deputy Fire Chief Ed Prescott said the city is much safer and much better prepared now because of Deluca. The school safety procedure manual developed by the school safety committee wouldn’t exist now if not for Deluca, he said.

Mayor Harry Rilling said there’s a saying that the first thing to go out the door in a catastrophe is the emergency operating plan, but, he said, he’s confident that, with Deluca around, the plan will not become a catastrophe.

Town Clerk Rick McQuaid said that, when he was on the Common Council, Deluca was one of the most prepared people to come before that panel. After he became town clerk, he saw a different side, he said, when Deluca had the city prepared for Superstorm Sandy.

“Any information anyone needed, call Michele,” he said. “She had the information we needed.” Deluca is “truly is a blessing to Norwalk,” he said.

McCarthy relayed a quote from former Mayor Richard Moccia: “This was the best hire of my tenure.”

Kenney said Deluca calls him at 7 a.m. and at 7 p.m., and “90 percent of the time it’s about the next new idea. She never takes the low road, it’s the high road. It’s to complete the process the way it should be completed. Some of the things she has initiated, the state has taken as a resource and started to run with.

Deluca’s concepts and ideas go as far as Wilton, New Canaan, Weston and Stratford, as she fortified mass care and emergency sheltering before Irene and Sandy came along.

“Those communities are all better off today because of the brainchild of Michele Deluca and she does have a way of bringing people together,” Kenney said. “This really is a recognition that is well deserved.”

 

Comments

6 responses to “Norwalk’s Deluca honored as Connecticut’s emergency manager of the year”

  1. Casey Smith

    Way to go, Michelle! In the past, there have been two fires in my neighborhood and when I have driven past enroute to work, I’ve see you outside with clipboard in hand, talking to the fire fighters and viewing the damage.

  2. EveT

    Was DeLuca in office during Hurricane Irene? During the many days of Irene power outage, I never remember being told of any public facilities available for people to charge cell phones and laptops. For example, were any of the libraries open with power? No info. You’d have to drive over to the library to find out.

  3. Anonymous

    Irene was 3 years ago. Read the article again and see what she’s done. Are any of you ever happy or do you just like to sit on your keyboard and complain? You have a position in the city of which the taxpayers are getting their monies worth. You should be grateful. But I doubt it..

  4. Harold F. Cobin

    Cell phones and laptops can be recharged at police headquarters on Monroe St., S. Norwalk. Ask the desk officer for permission to use the press room on the first floor. H.F.C.

  5. HeartNorwalk

    Or get a generator EveT.

    Is it really the taxpayer’s responsibility to charge your personal phone? Emergency Services are there to protect us and help people who are in danger following a MAJOR disaster.

    Michele is amazing. She has been a HUGE asset to the city, region and state.

  6. Nabil E. Valencia

    Congratulations Michele DeLuca!!! It was a pleasure meeting you at our LUC Fair! No doubt you are an asset to the Norwalk community!

    -Nabil (Secretary of Latinos Unidos de Connecticut)

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