Meet the man who’s been volunteering with Macon-Bibb EMA for 50 years
Steve Landers walked into the Macon-Bibb County Emergency Management Agency office after helping at the Labor Day Race on Monday.
Radios beeped and people rustled around the bunker as they came in from the race and prepared for the Hurricane Dorian evacuees that would soon be making their way to and through Macon.
“We’ve got a hub,” Landers said as he explained how the EMA helps manage resources during natural disasters to ensure public safety.
Landers joined the Macon-Bibb County Emergency Management Agency 50 years ago when it was known as the Middle Georgia Citizens Band Radio Club.
He has served the Middle Georgia community during some of Middle Georgia’s largest disasters, such as the Flood of ‘94. He has volunteered during floods, rescues and events, enjoying every minute of his service.
Mayor Robert Reichert and county commissioners declared July 16 Steve Landers Appreciation Day for his dedicated service to the community for 50 years, according to a news release.
“They dropped a hint, ‘Well, you don’t realize it, but you’ve been in close to 50 years.’ I thought, ‘Y’all got to be kidding me,’” Landers said. “I’ve been on cloud nine since July 16. I mean I couldn’t believe it.”
Landers has been selected as September’s Hidden Hero for The Telegraph and Positively 478. The Hidden Hero award recognizes those in the Middle Georgia community who make a difference without receiving any recognition.
“I toted water until I didn’t wanna see water anymore,” he said.
Landers’ recent achievement marks a big moment in his life, but those around him remember all the years and moments they’ve shared together before his public recognition.
Chris Henry, a volunteer with the EMA for more than 20 years, said he has worked with Landers covering large events in the community, and they have attended many trainings together.
“It’s always great being able to work with somebody that’s got that many years on you as far as experience and stuff because you can always learn from them,” Henry said. “He’s got a lot of knowledge that he brings to the table for us.”
Angela Billiot, president of the board for the Macon-Bibb EMA Volunteer Group, said she has worked with Landers through rescues, major traffic accidents, civic events and a handful of tornado warnings over the past 10 years.
“For me, it’s great because I get a little bit of the old school and some of the new, and the guys who have been in before me have definitely taught me a lot,” she said.
She said she it is amazing that a person can serve one organization and community for 50 years.
“Steve has definitely dedicated his life to his community and to this group, and that is priceless,” she said. “There’s no way that myself, our fellow volunteers, our staff members or our community could ever repay somebody for the time that is spent away from his family, out into his community and unselfishly helping people.”
Landers said that he wasn’t eligible for military service because of health conditions, but he said the EMA was his replacement.
“I’ve served my city. I’ve served my state. I’ve served my country. What else is there?” he said. “It means the world to me.”
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, email MaconEMAGroup@gmail.com.
To nominate a Hidden Hero, fill out our online form or email email@example.com for more information.