By Kelly Terpstra, firstname.lastname@example.org
When disaster strikes, Lezlie Weber is ready.
Whenever there is a person in need, she is there to lend a helping hand.
It’s her job, and she loves doing it.
Weber, the Floyd County emergency management director, coordinates and prepares her agency to help prevent and fight floods when high waters reach a breaking point. She also is one of the first people on the scene after first responders arrive when a house fire breaks out.
“I try and help ease their mind a little bit at the scene,” said Weber. “It makes me feel good to be able to help someone else.”
Weber took over as director in Floyd County in December 2014. Floods and fires are just part of what she deals with on a regular basis.
“I love my job completely. I like helping the public out, being able to really get down to an individual basis with people,” she said.
Weber said she is kind of the middle person between a fire, the Red Cross and the victims. She must touch base with those affected by a fire and plan a proper way to get them the help they need.
“I’m not some hierarchy that can’t help and come down to anyone’s level,” said Weber. “This job isn’t just a one-way street. It’s not just about me.”
Weber said her job is a lot of “boots on the ground” work, something she is very familiar with after enlisting in the Army National Guard in 2002.
She has been deployed to Kuwait twice, in 2004-05 and 2008-09. She helped coordinate getting troops back and forth to airports in an administrative office role in her first deployment.
The second time she was sent to Kuwait was more in line with some of the duties she performs at her current job. Whether it was helping make sure paper plates and plastic cups got to their destination or getting heavy machinery to a site, Weber dealt with all calibers of supply routing.
One way to describe what Weber does is as a backstage person to receive resources from the county, as she put it.
Weber’s path to her current job didn’t start with an emphasis on disaster relief.
She was a nurse, having received her CNA and an associate degree in science in 2009 from Indian Hills in Ottumwa.
“I started nursing because I wanted to help people,” said Weber.
Her husband is Chad Weber, a sheriff’s deputy for Floyd County. The two met in the Army National Guard and were married in 2016. They have five children.
Weber, a 2003 West Liberty High School graduate, knows it is not just Floyd County that needs help from time to time. It could be any one of the area counties’ emergency management agencies that might need assistance when times get tough.
“All of us are very passionate about our jobs and our communities and the safety and helping in anyway that we can, even if that means deploying to a different county in times of need,” said Weber. “My other fellow EMA’s are like a second family to me. That is a huge perk to this job.”
Weber is also thankful for the people she works with day in and day out, saying they make her job that much more gratifying.
“I love working with passionate and dedicated people that surround me,” said Weber. “I knew I found my perfect job after I started this position. I feel great about the work I do and the help that I provide.
“It’s fulfilling when you have that feeling of loving what you do and constantly are passionate about the ways to continue on and strive to improve.”