After a dozen years in charge of the county’s disaster preparedness efforts, Sam Hodge’s name has become synonymous with Georgetown County Emergency Management. When he steps down at the end of August, his legacy will be a lot for a successor to aspire to.
Hodge announced his retirement plans Wednesday. “The time has come for me to close this chapter,” he said.
Hodge has spent more than 30 years taking care of Georgetown County residents. The last 28 of those have been as a Georgetown County employee. He started his career as a firefighter and emergency medical technician with Murrells Inlet-Garden City Fire Department in 1986. He joined the Georgetown County family in 1990 when he was hired at Midway Fire and Rescue, where he served as a paramedic and battalion chief. He advanced to his current position as head of Georgetown County Emergency Management in 2007. He has guided the county through five federally declared disasters since 2014.
“Sam will be greatly missed. He has been an invaluable asset for Georgetown County,” said County Administrator Sel Hemingway. “The experience he has brought to the county and the institutional knowledge he has will be extremely difficult to replace. While I selfishly wish that he was remaining with the county, I certainly understand his position in life and wish him well in retirement and any future endeavors.”
Hodge was named S.C. Emergency Manager of the Year in 2011 and 2013, and Georgetown County Emergency Management was named Agency of the Year in 2015. Hodge was also the county’s Manager of the Year in 2013. He has served on the S.C. Emergency Management Association Executive Committee, where he started the Association’s annual workshop in 2011; the Pee Dee Healthcare Coalition Executive Committee; and the Homeland Security Advisory Committee.
“Georgetown County has allowed me to grow professionally and work with some of the best people I have ever known. It afforded me the opportunity to take over an Emergency Management program and rebuild it – with the support of the County Administrator and County Council – to one of the best programs in the state. I will always be grateful for the trust and support that was given to me, and for the privilege of helping my community and its residents when it matters most,” Hodge said.
Hodge over the years has been a trusted voice for residents across Georgetown County. He advocates for preparedness 365 days a year, but particularly when potential disasters are looming, such as recent hurricanes and flood events, many residents have depended on his advice in making decisions to keep their families safe.
“After serving the residents and visitors of Georgetown County for nearly three decades, I just hope and pray that I have made a difference in someone’s life and made Georgetown County a safer place and better prepared,” Hodge said.
Though retirement is on the horizon, he said his work isn’t quite done yet. He and his family will remain in Murrells Inlet, and Hodge said he will remain involved and active in the community.
“I see several opportunities that would allow me to continue to serve in a volunteer role during times of need and assist in community trainings to help our residents be better prepared,” Hodge said.