San Luis Valley professionals honored at Colorado Emergency Management Conference


Because of COVID, the Annual Colorado Emergency Management Conference was cancelled last year. It has been two years since Colorado Emergency Managers have met in person; the 2022 Colorado EM Conference in Loveland Feb. 22-25 was an opportunity to get back together and share ideas. 

San Luis Valley Emergency Management was well represented by directors at the conference from Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties. Representatives with the SLV American Red Cross, Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) and Healthcare Coalition were also in attendance at this multi-day event. 

Conejos County Director of Emergency Management Rodney King was awarded the coveted regional Emergency Manager of the Year Award from the Colorado Emergency Management Association (CEMA) and his peers. This was his second time receiving this award for his outstanding leadership, professionalism and commitment to his communities that he daily demonstrates.

King has been a mentor to many leading the way for emergency management in the future. He may be one of the longest serving Emergency Management professionals in the State of Colorado.

Rio Grande County Director of Emergency Management Art Wittner was awarded the statewide Rookie of the Year Award as a new emergency manager in Colorado. Director Wittner came onboard joining the SLV team just as the COVID response initiated.

Saguache County Deputy Director of Emergency Management David Frees was awarded the prestigious Mike Gelski Award for outstanding volunteerism and community service. Deputy Director Frees has dedicated thousands of hours to Saguache County and the SLV through his work on the Northern Saguache Fire Department, Saguache County Search and Rescue Team (SAR) and Emergency Management. 

Saguache County Director of Emergency Management Robert “Bobby” Woelz was also recognized by CEMA and the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) for becoming a State Certified Emergency Manager and for completing two State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) task books for both Public Information Officer (PIO) and Planning Sections Chief (PSC).

The SLV Emergency Management Team is a professional group of dedicated Responders serving the SLV Region while being prepared to deploy at any time to support our communities.