Adams County Emergency Manager Working to Keep Residents Safe

CORNING, Iowa  --  When the storms rolled into Adams County on Monday night, Donnie Willet was not surprised. For 12 years, Willet has served as the Adams County Emergency Management Coordinator. He’s also served on the Corning Fire Department for 50 years.

Willet has seen a few storms and his fair share of fires.

“For emergency management-wise, I watch the radar basically 24 hours a day,” he said. “I've got it at home and I've got it here, I just try to keep everything under control.”

As Willet and the volunteer firefighters watched the storm roll through Corning, a second severe thunderstorm warning was issued by the National Weather Service. Along with the heavy rain, there were reports of tree branches down.

Willet said every other year, the National Weather Service comes to train the firefighters as storm spotters.

“He’s the essential key to make sure everybody is safe with every storm that comes through,” said Adams County Sheriff Alan Johannes. “He’s on it, he takes time, he’s on the Internet with all the storm watchers, he keeps everybody posted on what’s going on.”

The biggest job of an emergency manager is not storms, but rather it’s thinking of the 'what if.'

Willet said, "Whether it’s the fair or RAGBRAI coming through, it’s 'what if this happens, what are we going to do,' and selling that point to the volunteers and the people of the community."