One of the longest-serving employees of Texas A&M Forest Service, Boo Walker began deploying with incident management teams more than 25 years ago.
Walker is the agency’s fire training coordinator and holds qualifications in firefighting and numerous fields of air operations. On the New York assignment, Walker is serving as Deputy Operations Section Chief, coordinating with the National Guard on completing surveys and distributing commodities.
This isn’t his first rodeo; he’s been deploying to hurricane recovery assignments since Andrew struck in 1992.
“Back then, I’d never run a distribution center before, but I learned how and we did it,” he said. “I think that’s what we’re able to contribute on these assignments. We analyze problems and propose solutions.”
On assignment in New York, the Operations Section has identified residents in need and provided for them.
“We built on FDNY’s good foundation, and we’ve done something they wanted us to do – establish an end point,” he said. “I’m confident this mission will be complete by Jan. 20.”
Walker went on to say that he’s learned a lot from working with cooperators, including the Army National Guard, AmeriCorps and employees of New York City.
“I have a real appreciation for how New York responds to their citizens and reaches out to them,” he said. “All the government employees we’ve worked with have been exceptional, but the Office of Emergency Management really goes out of their way to help people.”
This assignment marks the second holiday this year that Walker has spent helping the citizens of New York. He deployed during Thanksgiving with two others to set up a central warehouse for supplies.
“I have a very understanding family,” he said when asked about the sacrifice responders make to help others, even when it means leaving behind their own loved ones on the holidays. The team deployed for its current assignment the day after Christmas and is working two weeks into the New Year.
“They get it,” Walker explained in reference to his family. “They know that Dad leaves town so other dads get to go home safe.”