Public Servant: County employee wears many hats

Published 10:22 am Wednesday, August 7, 2019

For the last quarter century, Gary Epperson has worn a number of hats within the community.

He’s the Clark County’s Emergency Management director.

He is Clark County’s solid waste coordinator.

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He is also the director for Clark County in the federal Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program.

Beyond those, he is a ham radio operator, a commercial pilot, a musician and a number of other things.

“I started in emergency management in 1995 after straight-line winds crossed our county and damaged over 200 buildings,” he said.

At that time, there weren’t a lot of training classes, much less college degrees, in emergency management.

“I had to hit the ground running without a lot of knowledge,” he said. “I’d worked with people my while life so I knew how to get things done. Now you can get a degree in (emergency management) from EKU.”

The three positions are all part-time, but combined they are a full-time position, he said. All three fit well enough together that they haven’t been at odds during his tenure, he said.

Emergency Management, he said, deals education, preparation and mitigation for local emergencies, including fuel spills and natural disasters.

As solid waste coordinator, Epperson organizes events throughout the year to clean up illegal dumps, collect tires and other large items for recycling. One of the biggest annual events is the annual Riversweep to clean the banks of the Kentucky river, which is scheduled for next weekend.

I’ve rounded up over 100,000 tires,” he said. “We’ve cleaned up I don’t know how many illegal dumps.”

CSEPP is a regional organization connected to the stockpile of nerve gases in Madison County. The program recently started to destroy the stockpile of those gases, he said.

“I am tickled to death destruction of the chemical weapons has finally begun,” he said. “I didn’t know if I would live long enough to see it begin.”

After working with five different county judge-executives in 25 years, Epperson said he doesn’t know how long he will keep working for the county.

“I really don’t know,” he said. “As long as i feel useful and I can accomplish a few things.”

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email or call 859-759-0051.

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