CLARKE COUNTY, Miss. (WTOK) - In First Responders we meet someone very familiar to everyone in this area. EMA Director Eddie Ivy calls this area home and has dedicated his life to helping others.
"You can be the smartest person in the world, but if the people don't realize you're there for the right reason, it doesn't matter," Ivy says.
Ivy started his career in the late 1980s working on an ambulance.
"Over the years I've had the opportunity to be involved with over 30 presidential declarations at the local and state levels,” Ivy says.
Ivy grew up in Quitman with his father working at a funeral home. That funeral home doubled for the ambulance service back then.
"I remember that as an early childhood memory. I remember that when he would go, that was somebody needing help," Ivy says.
After working on the ambulance, Ivy started at Clarke County's EMA, becoming director in the early 90s. In 1994 he made his way to Lauderdale County and worked for nine years. From there he went to the state level. At MEMA he oversaw 27 counties.
"Through all those changes and opportunities, I had the opportunity to grow and learn more about what emergency management is and what that means to the people," Ivy says.
After Hurricane Katrina, Ivy spent six months on the gulf coast helping with recovery efforts. That's just one of many disasters he's worked. After having witnessed such incidents, Ivy says it can take a toll.
"We're there to help, so we have to be able to control that and take a deep breath and do what needs to be done to meet the needs of the citizens no matter the emergency," Ivy says.
When it comes to recovery and rebuilding, Ivy says there is a common bond among Mississippians.
“That's something I am very proud of. To be from Mississippi and know that we are one of the most giving states in a time of crisis," Ivy says.
Clarke County is home to Ivy and he says, for now, he will keep it that way.
"Thirty years later I am still going. I don't know what the future is going to hold. I still enjoy what I do. They tell me as long as you enjoy what you do then it's not really a job," Ivy says.
To stay up to date with our First Responders series tune in every Sunday night for Newscenter 11 at 10:00 p.m. and on Good Morning Meridian on Monday mornings.