Sarah Somers, director of Grayson County’s Office of Emergency Management, spent much of Thursday’s meeting with the leaders of area cities and towns clarifying and discussing the county’s disaster declaration.

Sarah Somers, director of Grayson County’s Office of Emergency Management, spent much of Thursday’s meeting with the leaders of area cities and towns clarifying and discussing the county’s disaster declaration.


Somers said the County’s emergency response personnel are still hard at work repairing infrastructure damage and assisting residents whose schedules and lives were disrupted by the disaster.


"This thing’s not over for us," Somers said. "There’s a whole lot of figuring out of the impacts that we’re going to have to do."


Somers said a flurry of paperwork is one of the principal challenges local governments will need to tackle in the aftermath of the ice storm.


"Don’t get overwhelmed by this; just keep it really simple," Somers said. "Just tell the story of what happened in your city."


Somers said city governments would have to jump through a few bureaucratic hoops to be reimbursed by the state and federal governments for costs incurred during the storm.


She said one silver lining in the debilitating severe weather was the display of neighborly love from Grayson County residents. Somers said Texomans’ concern for each other manifested prominently after the ice disabled and stranded many.


"There were so many stories of neighbors helping neighbors," Somers said, "people going out and buying towing straps and refueling vehicles, over and over again, pulling people out of ditches, and I’m telling you, they made the biggest difference."


Somers said she wanted to emphasize the need for Grayson residents to continue assisting each other in any way they can, especially checking on elderly relatives and neighbors to ensure enough prescription medication is on hand.


"My next concern is that we’re going to be getting reports of people who still can’t get out, and they had ten days worth of pills, but they just used them all up.


"So we are trying to do a little bit of public information on that: If you know somebody who is on critical medication, or any medication, and you know they may be stuck out there in some of the areas still immobilized by the ice, check on them.


"If you can get around, some of the main roadways are OK, and you can hike up to their house and check on them, that’s the kind of thing we’re encouraging folks to do at this point, because there are some people out there who went, ‘Boy I should’ve refilled my medicine before all this.’"


Somers said the County’s emergency responders are learning a lot from the severe ice storm, including the value of assets like one of the county’s recently renovated and outfitted operation rooms inside the Grayson County Courthouse.


"This room that we built for planning, training and task forces, always saying, ‘We may never have a full activation in here.’ Well we did, and it worked.


"Every one of these computers that are in here were on. State agency folks were on the phones. I’ve never been so glad to have anything in my life."


Somers gave a heartfelt thanks to the local government leaders for their assistance, and she repeatedly expressed admiration for the many salaried county employees and volunteers who put in unpaid overtime during the disaster.