For Terrie Montgomery, she wanted to work within the medical field. However, she did not know about becoming EOC coordinator until the Anthrax scare.
Montgomery graduated from Eastern Kentucky University and has a Bachelor of Science in medical technology with a minor in chemistry.
Montgomery currently works at the Lexington VA Health Care System as an Emergency Management Specialist. In this, she manages the Comprehensive Management Program and National Disaster Medical System for the healthcare system. In addition to this position, Montgomery also serves as the chair of the Kentucky Region 5 Hospital Preparedness Program Coalition.
Montgomery became an EOC Coordinator during the 911 and Anthrax scare. During this time, she was managing the Microbiology Department at a local hospital. During the threat from Anthrax, local Microbiology Managers were assembled to discuss testing and roles if suspicion of Anthrax.
At the time, there was more emphasis being placed on disaster preparedness and President George W. Bush at the time issued the Homeland Security Presidential Directive 5 or HSPD-5. The directive called for a National Incident Management System and helped identify steps for improved coordination among agencies. When healthcare agencies started to get involved, it was there when Montgomery started to be a part of disaster preparedness.
“I assumed that role as a collateral duty at the local hospital,” said Montgomery. “In 2010, I moved to the Lexington VA, as I have a passion for Emergency Management and VA has the 4th Mission which allows me to expand on my passion.”
The VA’s “fourth mission” states to improve the Nation’s preparedness response to war, terrorism, national emergencies and natural disasters. They will do this by developing plans and taking actions to help ensure continued service to Veterans as well as support the national state, local emergency management, public health and homeland security efforts.
For Montgomery, her responsibilities include working alongside the Health Department in the ESF8 role. The Lexington VA is an ESF8 Partner and the NDMS is a community response. Montgomery sits as the EOC Coordinator for LFUCG DEM. If NDMS is activated, then Montgomery takes on the role of the Federal Coordinating Center Coordinator and as liaison with LFUGC DEM in coordinating the regional response and support of other ESF partners to execute the activation of NDMS.
“There were growing pains when the new EOC was being built,” said Montgomery. “When I started as an EOC Coordinator, the location was off Martin Luther King. To see the transition from what was there to what the EOC has become, shows how much our involvement with disasters has grown. To be a part of that transition from MLK, to the police station, to the PSOC, has been wonderful.”
For Montgomery, disaster response is all about relationships. Choosing just one EOC Coordinator that is the most memorable to her is not an option. According to Montgomery, relationships need to be developed prior to a disaster.
“With all the stress in a response, the EOC Coordinators are all awesome and do an excellent job,” said Montgomery.
However, if it comes to choosing someone that Montgomery has worked with the most, she would have someone who has been with her from the start. She has worked with Tim Brandiwie, LFUGC DEM since the start of her emergency management career over 20 years ago. Not only has she worked with him in EOC but also within the Healthcare Medical side. According to Montgomery, her and Brandiwie have a great professional relationship and are friends outside of the professional realm.
One thing that Montgomery hopes to see in the future is more training on recovery and COOP. To Montgomery, these seem to be the issues that is rarely exercised. Recovery starts at the beginning of a disaster but us usually forgotten. Montgomery hopes to see more helpful information as well on how to initiate recovery in the future.
Montgomery currently resides in Nicholasville with her husband Rick. She has two sons, a daughter, a stepson as well as a granddaughter. Her hobbies include traveling and claims the beach is her happy place.