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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Colleagues, Friends Bid Farewell To John Hetrick

Colleagues, Friends Bid Farewell To John Hetrick

hetrickAn open house was held Wednesday to honor John Hetrick, who is retiring as director of emergency services and 911 director after more than 30 years with Potter County. 

A native of Hershey, Hetrick was initially employed as a probation officer in 1983 and was named planning director and local emergency management coordinator with the Civil Defense program. As emergency management and communications systems evolved, Hetrick’s responsibilities changed and he grew to be respected for his leadership, foresight and dedication regionally and at the state level. 

With the advent of centralized dispatching of emergency services, he was appointed 911 coordinator and eventually became director of the Department of Emergency Services. 

Among his accomplishments:
  • a series of 12 communications towers to spread communications coverage through a partnership he helped to forge with Tioga County.
  • interoperability, bringing all emergency responders on line with the same channel/frequency plan.
  • full countywide compliance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and development of emergency plans for school districts, jail and other government offices.
  • storm preparedness through a weather radio project.
  • development of an emergency operations center.
Over the years, Potter County’s emergency response system has been tested by floods, hurricanes and other violent weather, fires, blizzards, power outages, hazardous materials incidents, and other natural and man-made disasters.

For many years, Hetrick was actively involved as a volunteer with the Coudersport Volunteer Fire Department, serving for eight years as fire chief and holding other positions. He has also served as an ambulance volunteer, an emergency medical technician and instructor, and as a volunteer baseball and football coach. He was instrumental in the establishment of a varsity baseball program at Coudersport Area High School and coached the team for its first six seasons.

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