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DSS Employee Receives Emergency Preparedness Award

Christine McGraw, a regional manager with Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, an agency within the Department of Children & Family Services (DSS), received the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association's Dedication Award for leadership and service at the association's 30th annual conference in Lake Charles on Tuesday.

The Dedication Award is given to an individual who has provided quality service to the community or public, demonstrated perseverance and without fail provided outstanding assistance and cooperation.

"Christine truly exemplifies the attributes associated with this award and is deserving of the recognition," said DSS Secretary Kristy Nichols. "Her record of service as the Lead Area Manager and Incident Commander speaks to her character and commitment to serve Louisiana citizens and families during times of emergency."

McGraw has more than 24 years of state service with DSS. In her regular duties as the LRS Alexandria Regional Manager, she works to assist people with disabilities in Louisiana to obtain or maintain employment through its flagship program, Vocational Rehabilitation. She has master's degree in rehabilitation counseling from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches and currently oversees a staff of 29 employees.

DSS is the lead agency for Emergency Support Function 6; Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Housing and Human Services and operates state-run shelters for individuals requiring state-assisted transportation in order to evacuate during hurricanes and disasters. McGraw became the Alexandria Lead Area Manager in June 2005 and works cooperatively with nonprofit organizations and various local, state and regional agencies on emergency preparedness issues throughout the year.

The Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Association (LEPA) is a statewide non-profit organization of emergency preparedness and response practitioners with the common goal of improving public safety in emergencies. Formed in 1980, LEPA's mission is to incorporate emergency service professionals into a cohesive and productive association while providing support and leadership to advance public safety.