Former Guilford County Emergency Management Division Director Don Campbell left Guilford County government in October of last year to take a job with the state as the chief of staff for NC Emergency Management.
That meant Campbell would be protecting people on a much larger scale, and, on Saturday, Jan. 15, Campbell got his first statewide exposure in front of North Carolina residents thanks to the winter storm that wreaked havoc on much of the state.
Campbell is a nice guy but he’s not someone you want to see on TV – because that means something bad has happened or is expected to happen. This weekend, with a winter storm approaching North Carolina, a State of Emergency was declared in 25 of the state’s 100 counties – including Guilford County – so there’s no question Campbell had his hands full.
To a large extent, Campbell was the face of the state’s response.
When NC Gov. Roy Cooper spoke at a pre-storm press conference, Campbell was the first person to speak after the governor.
Campbell talked about the state’s preparations and encouraged people to stay home if they could.
“Please only dial 911 for life-safety events,” he said, adding that all calls regarding power outages should be made directly to the power company.
His comments were carried across the state via local news and through social media and other internet platforms.
Throughout the storm, Campbell publicized the website ReadyNC.gov, where state residents could get information about the storm and how to prepare for it.
Rather than being quoted in the Rhino Times this time around, Campbell was quoted in the News and Observer.
According to that paper, during the storm, Campbell was helping many counties get their hands on “chainsaw crews and Humvees,” largely through the NC National Guard.
Campbell served as emergency management director for Guilford County for 18 years, and Emergency Services staff in Guilford County were sad to see Campbell go last fall. However, that departure also came with a benefit. Campbell knows Guilford County well and, now, when Guilford County is hit with an emergency, it’s easy for county emergency staff to communicate with him and easier to catch Campbell up to speed on the condition of Guilford County.
Guilford County Commissioner Alan Perdue, who reitred as Guilford County’s Emergency Services Director, had high praise for Campbell when Campbell left Guilford County. 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 hard to protect the people of Guilford County. At that time Perdue also said that Campbell has “been a shining light of what a servant-leader should be.”