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Kurz lands EMA director position

Kurz lands EMA director position
Kurz lands EMA director position
Mike Kurz is the new director of the Harrison County Emergency Management Agency. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor
By Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, [email protected]

Little did Mike Kurz know the turn his life would take when he moved to Harrison County in early 1999.

The Logansport native made the move to accept a managerial position with what was then Oxford Automotive, now ICON Metal Forming, in Corydon. It was during his employment with the manufacturing company that he met Wendell Smith.

“Wendell worked security at the plant,” Kurz said.

Following the passing of Harrison County Sheriff William (Bill) Carver, Smith, through a caucus, was selected as the next sheriff.

“I told Wendell I was going to miss him,” Kurz said.

Smith suggested Kurz become a reserve police officer for him.

“I always wanted to be a police officer,” said Kurz, who took Smith up on his offer.

Kurz later was hired as a road officer.

“I loved law enforcement and always had a good time doing it,” he said. “I had the opportunity to try to help people.”

In 2015, Kurz, who was the third-shift lieutenant for the sheriff’s department, had the opportunity to become a school resource officer and was assigned to Heth-Washington Elementary School.

“I thoroughly enjoyed it,” he said. “I felt like I made a difference.”

Then last year, Greg Reas, who had served as the county’s Emergency Management Agency director for about 28 years, announced his retirement.

Kurz, 58, was interested and applied.

“I was fortunate to get (the position),” he said, adding he believes he can utilize his past experiences and hopefully expand on them in his new role.

“I had already worked with the fire departments and EMS (as a police officer),” Kurz said. “I still get to work with them now.”

He believes Harrison County has some of the best emergency personnel around.

“There are wonderful people attached to these departments,” Kurz said.

One of Kurz’s projects he accomplished while at HWES is something he hopes to expand countywide.

“I wrote a Reunification Plan for Heth-Washington,” he said, which the South Harrison Community School Corp. wanted to incorporate for the entire school system.

The plan details how parents and students will be united following a disaster, whether it’s natural or man-made, Kurz said.

Since landing the EMA director position Kurz has been looking at where the agency is and where it needs to go.

“There are so many facets to this job,” he said. There are good things in place; some just need updated.”

One of those areas getting an update is the radio system.

Kurz said the “big undertaking” started under Reas and should be finished this year.

He also established a warming shelter plan that was utilized during the Christmas weekend due to sub-zero wind chill values.

“Having the best plan in place is the target,” Kurz said of any area EMA is involved. “Good plans make for good actions.”

Kurz and his wife, Misty, have been married 17 years. Between them, they have six children and they adopted two others. They also have 11 grandchildren.

The couple serves as foster parents, providing a temporary home for nearly 30 children, mostly teenagers, through the years.

Kurz serves as president of the board of directors for 4:34 Ministries, a non-profit organization that assists persons experiencing homelessness, and he serves as a substitute pastor for a church in New Albany.

A hobby of Kurz’s is remodeling the couple’s house.

Kurz said he is still happy to be working with the service groups.

“I’m excited to do this and help my community,” he said.