Frontline Responders: Getting to know Odie Barrett

Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 8:38 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) -Lauderdale Emergency Management, or LEMA, Director Odie Barrett is no stranger to News Eleven viewers, and when he does grace our screens it is rarely with good news.

I thought that this Frontline Responders series would be a good chance for all of you at home get to know Odie like we do.

“It is helping everybody, but at the same time, we do a lot of environmental work with hazmat,” Odie Barrett said when I asked him what his favorite thing about his job was. “So, it’s good to know that we are out taking care of not just our community but also the environment itself.”

When we were conducting the interview for this story a bomb threat, that ended up not being credible and was “all cleared”, to Meridian Community College came in.

It was the ultimate example of how a day, despite any plans he may have, can be turned upside down for a LEMA Director.

“It’s exciting sometimes because it is a spur-of-the-moment change in your day. Like today we didn’t plan on anything coming to light. But here in the middle of an interview we had a bomb threat and were called to assist in that but that is just day-to-day operations in emergency management,” Odie said.

Personally, I have seen Odie respond to almost every emergency that I have covered, and at every scene, he conducts himself with professionalism and grace. For those that know Odie for more than just his emergency response, you learn that he is just as humble as he is funny.

“I am strictly doing this for the betterment of our community. I love the community I love everybody in it. We’re going to do everything we can to keep everybody safe no matter what the hazard may be,” Said Odie.

One more thing about Odie that I am sure will make many of you chuckle is that I learned that he is a certified party clown. Do with that what you will. But, honestly, it explains a lot.

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