NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 23, 2014) – Federal, state and local agencies formalized an official partnership to promote flood risk reduction today by signing the Tennessee Silver Jackets Charter during a ceremony at Metro Nashville’s Development Services Center.
Tennessee is the 40th state to form a Silver Jackets Program, which is an innovative partnership where its members collaborate on the state's flood risk management priorities. The charter signing formalizes the relationship between stakeholders that have an interest in reducing the risks associated with flooding and other natural hazards.
Maj. Gen. Terry M. “Max” Haston, adjutant general for the Tennessee National Guard, represented David W. Purkey, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency deputy commissioner and Homeland Security advisor, at the event. The general spoke about the importance of forming the Silver Jackets team after Tennessee’s great flood of 2010, and emphasized how the interaction between partners would generate great ideas and facilitate a positive exchange of information.
“We all need each other in an emergency,” Haston said. “And just as importantly, we all need to work to help each other get ready for the next emergency before it happens.”
State agencies involved in Silver Jackets include TEMA, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation and Geographic Information Systems Servicers. Federal partners include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Memphis District, Tennessee Valley Authority, Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IV, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Geological Survey and National Weather Service.
“With today’s signing, the Tennessee Silver Jackets Program is officially recognized by the signatories,” said Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, Nashville District commander. “The state benefits from the collaboration, pooling of resources and enhanced preparedness. When technical experts share in the responsibility of flood risk management, the interaction stems a greater flow of information and leads to more viable solutions.”
Mayor Jim Coppinger of Hamilton County, Mayor Mark Lutrell of Shelby County, Mayor Kim McMillan of Clarksville, Mayor Andy Berke of Chattanooga, Mayor Madeline Rogero of Knoxville and Mayor Karl Dean of Nashville represent localities that are also involved with Silver Jackets.
Dean and McMillan, whose cities they represent were significantly affected during the May 2010 flood of the Cumberland River, spoke and addressed disaster preparedness and the value of working together with Silver Jackets partners to reduce flood risk.
“The charter we’re signing today builds on the years of work that teams at the local, state and federal levels have done to share our collective experiences and ensure that we’re doing everything we can to reduce our flood risk,” Dean said. “We look forward to active involvement in the Tennessee Silver Jackets team. It’s one more thing we can do to keep our city safe, and we welcome the opportunity.”
McMillan pointed out that Clarksville has experienced a devastating tornado and a 100-year flood in the past 15 years, so emergencies happen that are unpredictable and tragic.
“And when they do (happen), our citizens should and do look to us for help,” McMillan said. “This organization of caring, dedicated and talented professionals will help us all respond better and faster when those potentially devastating events occur.”
The charter includes vision and mission statements and goals. It also defines roles and responsibilities for the team. The Silver Jackets team meets on a quarterly basis at locations predetermined by its members. Decisions are accomplished through team consensus as defined by the charter.
For more information about Silver Jackets, visit http://www.nfrmp.us/state/. For more facts about the Tennessee Silver Jackets Program, visit http://www.nfrmp.us/state/factTennessee.cfm.
Tennessee Silver Jackets Charter Signatories
Lt. Col. John L. Hudson, commander, USACE Nashville District
Lt. Col. Thomas D. Patton, deputy commander, USACE Memphis District
Kevin Brown, state conservationist, NRCS
Larry Vannozzi, meteorologist in charge, NWS
Scott Gain, Science Center director, USGS
Dennis Pederson, GISP director, GIS Servicers
Andrew Velasquez III, acting administrator, FEMA Region IV *
John J. McCormick, vice president, Tennessee Valley Authority River Operations *
David W. Purkey, deputy commissioner, TEMA and Homeland Security advisor*
Maj. Gen. Terry M. “Max” Haston, adjutant general, Tennessee National Guard
Bill Hagerty, commissioner, TDECD *
John C. Schroer, commissioner, TDOT *
Robert J. Martineau, commissioner, TDEC *
Karl Dean, mayor, city of Nashville
Kim McMillan, mayor, city of Clarksville
Andy Berke, mayor, city of Chattanooga *
Madeline Rogero, mayor, city of Knoxville *
Jim Coppinger, mayor, Hamilton County *
Mark Lutrell, mayor, Shelby County **
* Signed charter prior to ceremony
** Scheduled to sign charter following ceremony
The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps.