Jeff Hardy began his career as a volunteer with the Maury County Fire Department in 2004. In 2005, he was hired by the Spring Hill Fire Department as a fireman and paramedic where he took on the role of lieutenant.
(TNS) — For the entirety of his professional career, Jeff Hardy has been working to protect the people of Maury County.
A longtime firefighter, Hardy now continues his work as the director of the Maury County Office of Emergency Management.
In the new position previously held by fellow local firefighter Mark Blackwood, Hardy is now responsible with coordinating emergency efforts between all of the county's emergency departments, from Mt. Pleasant to Spring Hill. He is also tasked with keeping the region's emergency plans updated and ready to be carried out in case of a major disaster.
Although he takes a leading role, Hardy says the department's success lies in the ability of all of the county's emergency departments as well as the local highway department and other infrastructure working together as a single cohesive unit.
From major disasters to fires and storms relief, all of the county's resources need to be working in unison for a successful recovery.
"It is a welcomed challenge," Hardy told The Daily Herald two months into the new position. "We want to make the community healthier and more resilient should a disaster happen."
It is now his job is to send local units across the state or nation when the call for assistance comes.
In 2016, Blackwood was called on to assist with disaster relief efforts in Gatlinburg when a fire raged through the mountain resort community in East Tennessee. He was joined by local firefighters also dispatched to assist in the effort.
A year earlier, he sent firefighters to Columbia, South Carolina, to assist the city ravaged by flooding.
"I have always enjoyed helping people," Hardy said. "Being a first responder, it's about being able to answer that call and trying to make that bad day a little better for
someone. That has always been a joy. In this role I can do that on a much greater scale. Here we are looking at the whole community. We can plan for any disaster and hopefully lessen the burden to the public."
Hardy began his career as a volunteer with the Maury County Fire Department in 2004. In 2005, he was hired by the Spring Hill Fire Department as a fireman and paramedic where he took on the role of lieutenant. He also continued to serve for the volunteer fire department where, in 2011, he was named the chief of the department's training division.
"Just being able to pull someone's wedding certificate off the wall or a baby picture," Hardy said. "You can buy a new couch, you can buy a new bed, but that picture of your wedding day, you can't replace that as easy. I was blessed to be on several calls where we could save someone's life, someone's loved one. Those are special moments."
Hardy is also a Maury County constable. He is currently serving his second term following his reelection in 2018.
"I was just ready for a change," Hardy said. "I also worked as a paramedic with Maury Regional. I have done a little bit of everything. I wanted to be able to serve the community in a bigger way."
Looking ahead, Hardy says Maury County's growth will remain a challenge for local emergency responders.
"We have a growing population," Hardy said. We are one of the fastest growing counties in the state, in the nation. Trying to be proactive instead of active is the key to being prepared."
To be better prepared, Hardy encourages residents to follow the Maury County Office of Emergency Management Facebook page and to a acquire a weather radio.
"It is the season for severe weather," Hardy said.
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