Guilford County residents are likely to be in more danger soon than they have been in the past.

That’s because one of Guilford County’s most respected leaders – Emergency Management Division Director Don Campbell – is leaving to take a job with the state as the chief of staff for NC Emergency Management, a division of state government.

As a general rule, in the past, the less you saw Campbell’s name in the news, the better off you were.  Because he is who Guilford County calls in a crisis and he’s never been more visible than in the past year and nine months.  Campbell – along with Guilford County Health Director Dr. Iulia Vann – has co-led Guilford County’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

Campbell’s departure was announced at the Guilford County Board of Commissioners’ Thursday, Oct. 21 meeting, and many county commissioners and county staff had extremely kind and positive words for Campbell. 

Campbell has served as emergency management director for Guilford County for 18 years, and, last year, in a Guilford County employee newsletter, he was praised for his “exceptional ability to remain positive, kind, and calm, even in the most challenging of circumstances.”

Campbell, who likes to run marathons in his “spare” time, has served as a Den Leader for Boy Scouts of America when not keeping county residents safe.

He has always made himself available to the press during times of crisis, which has helped the media accurately inform residents about what’s going on. Campbell has even responded quickly to emails sent in the middle of the night if there was an emergency.

Guilford County Commissioner Alan Perdue, who served as the director of Guilford County Emergency Services for years before becoming a commissioner, was the person who hired Campbell for the job.  Perdue said at the Oct. 21 commissioners meeting that it was certainly the right move.

He had nothing but praise for Campbell.

“There was no question about who we needed to hire here in Guilford County in the second position of Emergency Management,” Perdue said.  “He was a very young man and he knew exactly what needed to be done.”

“We saw significant potential in this young man to do great things,” he added.

Perdue said Campbell has been focused on the pandemic over the last year and nine months but, over the last 18 years, Perdue said, there have been fires and floods and hurricanes and all types of other natural disasters during which Campbell “stood up and stood strong” and worked in a highly dedicated manner to protect the people of the county.

“He’s been a shining light of what a servant-leader should be,” Perdue said.

(In the photo above Campbell is on the left with the plaque.)