Mayor Tommy Longo on the slab that held Waveland City Hall before it was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. (Photo by Tim Isbell.)
LeadersLink Tommy Longo Disaster Leadership Award
LeadersLink is establishing an annual nationwide award to recognize a current or former elected official at the city or county level whose efforts have enabled his or her community to recover successfully from a disaster. It is named in honor of LeadersLink's first disaster mentor, former Waveland, Mississippi Mayor Tommy Longo, who passed away in 2019 and spent years coaching communities around the country through the disaster recovery process.
Who is eligible to be nominated for this award?
Any individual elected to office at the city or county level of a community that suffered physical damage following a disaster sometime in the past 10 years.
Who may submit nominations for this award?
Any individual or organization interested or involved in city/county governance, community emergency preparedness or disaster recovery. Individuals may self-nominate for this award.
Where are the nominations to be sent?
Complete and submit the nomination information below or if you’ve received a form via email, send the completed form to email@example.com. Nominations are due by February 28, 2022.
What are the evaluation/selection criteria for this award?
Recent Disaster – Disaster must have occurred after January 1, 2011.
Resilience – The city or county is thriving and has successfully recovered.
Extent of damage – The community suffered at least 40 percent physical damage.
Staying Power – The community was able to maintain at least 90 percent of its pre-disaster population.
Speed of recovery.
Initiative and innovation displayed during recovery.
Efforts made by the official to protect the community from future disaster losses.
When will the winner be announced?
The winner will be announced in 2022 and the award will be presented in a ceremony in the winner’s community.
NOTE – Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the decision on the first recipient of the LeadersLink Tommy Longo Disaster Leadership Award had been delayed from its originally-announced date. Thank you to all who have submitted nominations for your patience!
"It's a great idea. The lessons learned and experiences gained through a disaster are so helpful to instruct or guide people. It's just so valuable that experience, and so helpful. There's an art to this."
Mayor Joe Riley / Charleston, SC
"I would love to have had someone saying 'for the next 3 weeks here's what you need to focus on'. That would have really helped me. There really wasn't a lot of information passed on to us about what was coming in the weeks and months ahead. I remember pulling articles from the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. We did our best to anticipate a lot of issues."
Mayor Walter Maddox / Tuscaloosa, AL
"A website would be really helpful. The ability to link to somebody, talk to somebody in a city of 10,000 or 300,000. There is just some consolation to hearing affirmation. Truthfully, the emotional support means a lot."
Mayor Ted Ellis / Bluffton, IN / Former Pres., National League of Cities
"There's a lot of people sit back and say, 'Oh my God! What am I going to do?' At times, you just need someone to talk to about what you need to be doing next."
Mayor Gregg Kennedy / Smithville, MS
"You're going to get the first call. So you'd better have some answers. You have five minutes! You need to know what you're going to do."
Mayor Harry Lewis / Rayville, LA
"If we keep educating folks - however it needs to be done - but if we can keep educating and letting them know what we know now and wished we had known back then, I think we'll all be better off."
Mayor Eddie Favre / Bay St. Louis, MS
"I think it's very important. It gives us an opportunity to take lessons learned and mistakes made and pass them forward and help people make the right decisions and keep from making the wrong ones."
Mayor Brent Warr / Gulfport, MS
"Anytime you tap on experience, that's a whole lot better a lot of times than a bunch of books. If you have somebody that lived it say, this is what you need to do. Especially if it worked out."