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Report: Gov. Justice appoints Mark Sorsaia as Secretary of Dept. of Homeland Security

Governor Justice thanks Wood County Commission, 911 official


August 17, 2018


Governor Justice thanks Wood County Commission, 911 official



CHARLESTON, W.Va. – A longtime Wood County public servant has received special thanks from Governor Jim Justice after he stepped up to aid a critical state emergency response program.


Director Ricky Lee Woodyard of Wood County 911 was presented with a Certificate of Recognition from Justice by Chief of Staff Mike Hall and Secretary Jeff Sandy from the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety late last week The Wood County Commission was similarly recognized for facilitating Woodyard’s assistance.


Woodyard agreed earlier this year to temporarily oversee West Virginia’s Statewide Interoperable Radio Network at the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, which is part of Secretary Sandy’s department.


This critical telecommunications network connects police, fire and emergency medical first responders. Through the latest radio technology and an array of more than 80 towers across the state, it provides coverage both for 911 centers and other facilities as well as vehicle-mounted and handheld devices.


As acting Statewide Interoperability Coordinator or SWIC, Woodyard helped guide the ongoing upgrade and expansion of the network. He also oversaw West Virginia’s participation in the state network’s emerging nationwide counterpart, FirstNet.

West Virginia was just the seventh state to opt in on this public-private initiative to establish a wireless broadband network for first responders. All 50 states have agreed to participate as well as Washington, D.C. and five U.S. territories.


Secretary Sandy credited Woodyard with briefing Governor Justice senior staff and state Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch on the benefits and implementation of FirstNet.


Woodyard noted that 2018 marks his 41st year of public service. Also head of Wood County’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Office, Woodyard is a veteran of the county Sheriff’s Department and rose to the rank of captain there before taking over 911 in 2014.


“It is humbling and most assuredly a team effort,” Woodyard said. “I have the pleasure of serving with a team of people who are highly skilled and dedicated to their community in the field of homeland security, emergency management and 911 communications.”


Woodyard completed the 45-day temporary assignment in late June. The Certificates of Recognition were presented on Aug. 10.


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LAWRENCE MESSINA (304) 558-2930 Lawrence.C.Messina@wv.gov