Outgoing Palatine Emergency Management Agency coordinator Tom Smith received a standing ovation Monday as he and his agency's volunteers were commended for their work by the Palatine village council.
A large gathering of Palatine residents clad in orange safety vests filled the council room as Mayor Jim Schwantz led the ceremony and heaped praise on the all-volunteer group.
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"I've been the mayor for five years and I'm constantly told by other officials that this is the gold standard by which other (emergency management agencies) are judged," Schwantz said.
Smith, who is retiring after nine years on the job, called his tenure "an amazing run."
"I'm so proud of every one of you folks. You'll always be my friends," he said.
As coordinator, Smith supervised more than 150 volunteers on projects which include community emergency preparedness training, disaster response, emergency medical assistance and emergency radio communications.
Schwantz said PEMA volunteers logged in over 7,500 hours of volunteer work last year.
He presented Smith with a painted wood sign of Palatine's logo, saying he hoped the retiring coordinator had room on his wall for it.
Other PEMA members honored at the ceremony were Cindy Wolta, who was named PEMA Volunteer of the Year; Linda Trilling, who was named PEMA Volunteer Leader of the Year; and Bob Worthy, who was named PEMA Park District Volunteer of the Year.