Beloved Brunswick Co. Deputy EMS Director retires after 24 years

BRUNSWICK COUNTY (WWAY) — Brunswick County Deputy Emergency Director Scott Garner is retiring after more than 30 years of service.

Garner has worked through 21 disasters in Brunswick County, getting resources to the people who needed it more during storms like Hurricane Florence, Floyd, and this year’s Ocean Ridge tornados.

“It is a lot of pressure and you never know what,” Garner continued, “what you’re going to wind up doing.”

Garner came from a family of firefighters and started as a volunteer for New Hanover County when he turned 18. 31 years later, he’s spent decades coordinating Brunswick County safety plans and getting resources to the most remote parts of Brunswick County, helping men and women in need.

“You can just, a lot of times after doing it for so long, you can really hear it in their voice, of whether that person is really in need,” Garner said.

That’s why Garner said he got into public safety: his favorite part is getting to help people out of the some of the most difficult situations.

Garner remembers one call from an Oak Island woman after Hurricane Isaias. She was stranded on her porch with dogs watching her house flood. He drove through the flooding to Oak Island, feeding the woman, the dogs, and helping them to safety.

“This was somebody that was basically living on a deck with dogs, he remembered, “because everything she owned had been washed over in her home.”

But the job, working days away from family in times of crisis, wasn’t without its sacrifices.

Garner: “For 30 plus years, if it was snowing, if it was raining, if it was a hurricane, there was no question of where I was going to be. Where I had to be. So now I’m going to be there for my people.”

Reporter: “I bet your family is going to be happy to have you back during those stormy days.”

Garner: “I’ll be happy to be back.”

While Garner is going to be with his family after Friday, he says he’ll never forget the family he made in Brunswick County.

“I’ve worked with a lot of emergency managers all around the state. Great friends. There’s no where else I’d rather work than here. What I’ll miss most when I leave here, Friday when I close the door and cut the lights out, is going to be the family.”

Garner plans to take the first few months after his retirement, spending time with his family and daughter before she graduates college.

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