Sam’s Adventures in Leadership Camden County Part 3




Assistant Director Sam Henley is a member of the 26th class of Leadership Camden County! Director Ron Gentry nominated Sam so she could begin building a network here in Camden County and begin learning about our county through the eyes of the organizations, agencies, and businesses who serve our area!


They had quite an interesting challenge in moving forward with Part 3 of Leadership Camden County Class XXVI. Beginning with this class, the participating groups are responsible for running the next five classes. This includes planning the day, arranging activities and meals, scheduling tours, and lining up guest speakers.

The first group up was the Infrastructure Team (Sam’s team!) and let us tell you, they had a fantastic, busy day planned! They lined up four guest speakers, tours of the Camden County Road and Bridge District, Emergency Management Agency, Camdenton Water Treatment Plant, and the Camdenton Memorial Lake Regional Airport. Lunch was planned as box meals from the Butcher Shop. They had a tabletop exercise scheduled to run through, showing how the community responds immediately after large-scale emergencies, and MORE! The Infrastructure Team, Jordan, Amber, Jeff, and Sam, really cranked out some great work and were very excited to present for their day!

Unfortunately, the pandemic exists and has caused everyone to alter how and what they can do safely. Their team’s advisor, Mike, brought them the news that their day was postponed. After another meeting with Trish (the class coordinator), the decision was made to move forward with part of their day as a Zoom meeting. They scrambled to rearrange the speakers, after they had just postponed. Some of the speakers were not comfortable with Zoom or had other things come up, so the team pushed through to arrange new speakers!

As you can see in the graphic and schedule above, they were able to secure Shana from Share the Harvest Food Pantry, Rob Long from the Osage Beach Transportation Department, Corey Leuwerke and Brian Garkie from the Camdenton Memorial Lake Regional Airport, and Fire Chief Joseph LaPlant from Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District as their speakers for the meeting.

They also had the first three participants for the “More about me in 2”: Leslie, Brandon, and Denise. Their awesome stories are after the guest speakers!


Share the Harvest

Shana told the class that Share the Harvest grows 3000 pounds of food annually. They receive food and other needed items from Dierbergs, Woods, Gerbes, and Walmart three days a week. These companies receive a tax credit for their help through Feeding America.

Share the Harvest is part of the Central and Northeast Foodbank System our of Columbia, MO. In their capacity of helping members of our community who need food, they pass out 25 to 30 pounds of food per person in each household which comes to them for help. Normally, families can visit once per month at their building located at 689 North State Highway 7 Camdenton, MO 65020 (N. Hwy. 7 & EE Junction- Greenview); however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, families can come in TWICE per month right now. They are also partnered with a mobile food distribution unit and families can use that service once per month.

Shana is also a Salvation Army Extension Office representative, so if people need help paying a bill or anything else, she has other avenues and resources she can tap to try and fulfill that need.

You can learn more about helping this great organization on their website or feel free to give Shana a call at 573-873-5855 ext. 4.


Camdenton Memorial Lake Regional Airport

Next up was Corey Leuwerke from Camdenton Memorial Lake Regional Airport. He told the class that the airport is averaging between 5000 and 6000 takeoffs per year. They have moved over 70,000 gallons of fuel so far in 2020 and they still have a month to go! They refuel things like light jets and Chinook helicopters. He and his team are always looking for ways to continue growing and cultivating business opportunities and access to the Lake of the Ozarks and part of that growth comes with an expansion!

At this point, Brian Garkie provided the class with a walkthrough of the Camdenton Airport Expansion Program PowerPoint. You can find this available for download below. Brian is passionate and excited about the expansion, as it really brings new options and traffic to the Camden County area!

With the hopes that the project will be completed by the conclusion of Fall 2021, please watch for more information in the local paper, social media, and other outlets for updates on this fantastic project!


Osage Beach Transportation Department

Their next guest speaker was Rob Long with the Osage Beach Transportation Department. Rob began his career as a maintenance worker, worked his way up to Crew Leader, became an assistant supervisor and is now a Foreman. He oversees the crews of workers and wanted to speak today about their plans for this winter. Snow removal and ice treatment are foremost on the minds of these great men and women as the weather begins to turn and we make the grudging trip into freezing temperatures and winter storms.

The entire plan and program for clearing the roads has been revamped. Rob saw a need to change how the routes and sectors were laid out and how the manpower was distributed. He said it was obvious that the district did not have enough drivers for the routes, especially if the city received a layer of ice or six inches of snow or more. He worked with others in the department to redraw the routes and brought in additional volunteers to help cover the areas where there were shortfalls.

When asked what he would say to the public about road clearing after snowstorms, he replied, “Please be patient. Our crews work as hard as they can. We have tracking units on the trucks, so we know where they are at all times. We can also tell if they have gotten stuck and need help. We will not stop running the routes until all the roads are cleared!”

We thank Rob and his crew for all of their hard work! Make sure you wave if you see them clearing the roads this winter!


Sunrise Beach Fire Department

The final speaker for this month was Fire Chief Joseph LaPlant of the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District. Chief spoke of challenges facing the first responder agencies in our county. Wages for first responders are significantly lower here than in almost all target areas. Most agencies have high turnover here because the responders get their ground level experience here and then leave for areas where they can make more money to support their families. This was a great topic for leadership. Chief talked about improving the benefits offered to try and bring in new responders or have previous responders return. Another improvement on the books is bringing the responders back under contract instead of them working without one or being grandfathered in on previous ones.

Another of the improvements Chief put in place was an improved communications system. When he arrived on his first scene in our county, he had to stand at the top of the hill and relay radio traffic. That was no way for firefighters to operate. He helped get the donations and funding to put another tower and equipment in service. This greatly improved communications. He is currently working with members of LAESA (Lake Area Emergency Services Association) to improve radio interoperability around the lake!

Of course the pandemic has hit first responders hard. On the front lines, they faced extreme difficulties when COVID-19 hit. As soon as the chief saw the spread starting to accelerate, he appointed on of their firehouses to become a quarantine zone for firefighters who contracted the virus. He worked with FEMA to continually evolve the Incident Action Plan his district was using. He also worked with his crew to go through PPE they had stored from the previous Ebola preparations. This small cache of PPE helped get them through while waiting for PPE from FEMA and SEMA. At that time, SBFPD also created enhanced Mutual Aid agreements with Gravois Mills for each to help cover the others calls if they were short staffed due to COVID-19 quarantine or infection.


More about me in 2

For the More about me in 2, three of the classmates had two minutes each to tell a funny anecdote or information about themselves, to give their fellow classmates more insight into who they are!

Leslie shared that she and her family raised Tennessee Walking Horses and she still has three of them; Bingo, Clever, and Joe. She is an animal lover and has four large dogs, too!

Brandon shared that his dentist pulled the WRONG TOOTH recently, but he didn’t sue him. He lives the same beliefs with which he runs his business. If you don’t give people a chance to right their wrongs, you won’t know what they are capable of or how good a relationship you could build with them.

Finally, Denise grew up going up in planes with her dad and taking people skydiving. She was a “Drop Zone Brat” and she spent that time taking pictures of skydivers (though she didn’t go skydiving herself at that time). She owned her own photography business and has a degree in photography as well as marketing. She has photographed over 600 weddings, but her real passion was photographing sports!


Thank you so much to the Infrastructure Team and the guest speakers for the day! Despite the changes to the format and delay in the tours, it was a very engaging meeting!

Stay tuned for Part 4, coming December 22!


Other parts in this series

Part 1

Part 2

Part 4

Published by camdensam

I am the Assistant Director of Camden County, MO Emergency Management Agency (EMA). In this role, I assist with the day-to-day operations of the EMA, work on the Local Emergency Operations Plan, manage the Facebook, Twitter, and website for the EMA, oversee the budget and webpages for the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), oversee and run exercises for the Camden County, MO Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), and work with the Camden County, MO Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). I hold a general class amateur radio license, call sign KE0LMY. I am a certified CERT and WebEOC trainer, as well as a trainer for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency for numerous in-seat courses such as the 191, 300, and 400.

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