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In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy Gale clicked the heels of her ruby slippers together and repeated the line, “There’s no place like home,” to get back to her farmhouse in Kansas.  All our team had to do was make it to JFK airport in New York to make the trip.

The flight was uneventful, and, as we flew back, I’m sure that each member of the team tried to process in his or her own way. There’s no way to be working in an environment like that without doing a tremendous amount of introspection. Are our emergency plans good enough? Do we have good enough plans for our families? 

The wheels of our jet touched down just a few minutes before six p.m. and, from there it was a quick few steps from the airside at the airport to the main terminal, where the greeting home was overwhelming.

The sign was awesome to see.

Doug Meyer and his wife Barb have an emotional reunion

After the hugs, high fives and a few tears, we gathered the team together to hold a brief news conference. To our friends in the New York City Office of Emergency Management, we had nothing but praise for your strength, resilience and professionalism. We reminded our residents that even though the impact from Hurricane Sandy has fallen off the front pages of newspapers and moved later into the newscasts, that the needs you guys have are as important and urgent as ever.

The news conference after our arrival

And, we also promised that we would take the evidence of what you are going through to help educate our residents across the Tampa Bay area. The threat from hurricanes is real, and we have to keep everyone here ready should the worst happen.

Emergency Managers return from NYC area (Bay News 9)

Bay Area Emergency Management finish response to Sandy (WTSP CBS 10)

Emergency Managers return from New York (WFTS Fox 13)