LEMA Director Celebrates Retirement

Meridian's Evangel Temple hosted a retirement party Friday for LEMA director, David Sharp's last day. His friends, family, and coworkers joined together in celebrating his eight years as LEMA director. Sharp got emotional as he talked about how much he'll miss job, but he says he is ready for retirement.

"It's bittersweet. I'm not leaving because I don't like my job, I love what I do. I love the people that I work with," Sharp says. "But it's just one of those things that it's time to go."

His colleagues tell him they will miss him working for Lauderdale County.

"He's been an outstanding LEMA director, and he's dedicated many years of his life to service here in Lauderdale County," supervisor Hank Florey says. "And he's very much appreciated."

Sheriff Billy Sollie says Sharp was always one of the first on scene anytime his sheriff's department needed help. And he understands how he feels.

"David got very emotional in his comments. I remember 19 and a half years ago when I retired from the police department. I had the same emotions of having done something your whole life, and now you're going to step away from it," he says. "I certainly wish David the best in his future."

And it's these friendships and partnerships that Sharp says he'll miss most.

"We have formed a partnership that if one of us got in trouble, all the rest are coming to help. That's what it takes when you have a disaster is everyone pitching in to help each other," he says.

Sharp and his wife plan on taking a vacation to the mountains this weekend to celebrate his retirement. Their first vacation in eight years.

"For eight years, I've been the LEMA director's wife, and it's very challenging being the LEMA director's wife," says Beth Sharp. "You pretty much never have a life. But this is a new beginning for David and I, and we're very excited."

Sharp says he will likely continue to volunteer with weather emergencies in the future.