Boo Hinton has responded to wildfires in 29 states, but his current assignment in New York is his first related to hurricane recovery.
Hinton is with the Lone Star State Incident Management Team working as a branch director and Operations section chief on the team’s three-week Hurricane Sandy recovery assignment.
The Texas A&M Forest Service task force coordinator said the experience so far has been an excellent training opportunity.
The team is working for the New York Office of Emergency Management and coordinating the Army National Guard’s effort to assess the well-being of New York residents and ensure they have heat, commodities and a safe place to stay.
“I’ve been gaining experience and building close bonds with the Guard,” Hinton said.
A firefighter since 1988, Hinton said the assignment also has offered an opportunity to better his skills in public speaking and leadership.
“One of the very first assignments that I went on back in Indiana, I noticed that the team leadership, the overhead, weren’t really looking out for the boots on the ground. You’d see them at morning briefing and then you wouldn’t see them again until the end of the day,” Hinton said. “I determined that if I ever got in that kind of role, I didn’t want to be like that. I wanted to make sure that everyone was taken care of, top to bottom. I hope to demonstrate my competence with the team in a leadership position.”