Sarah D: One man's battle against the storm

John Hark, Emergency Management Director for Hannibal and Marion County / KHQA file photo

To hear John Hark talk, he TMs waging his own personal war against the storm.

We TMre going to prepare, we TMre going to fight this battle and hopefully, we TMll get through this unscathed.

Certainly, as Emergency Management Director for Hannibal and Marion County, Hark is a veteran of such battles. He TMs been fighting natural disasters and other emergency situations for 40 years.

As he gears up for this latest fight, Hark celebrates his 64th birthday. The same day, February 1, his brother, Hannibal Mayor Roy Hark, turns 66. As the former fire chief, Roy has fought his share of battles too. There won TMt be much time for a family birthday party. The brothers will be on the front lines for this storm.

By Monday afternoon, John Hark had already met with his brother and other city and county officials to put the finishing touches on their disaster plan. The Salvation Army , American Red Cross and other agencies joined in that meeting. Hark drafted a State of Emergency Declaration, ready to file if the storm realizes its full potential.

We TMre asking everyone to get what you need and get in, Hark said. And he warns everyone to be prepared to stay in place. If a Marion County resident has an emergency, Hark has a plan for that too. He TMs placed snowmobiles on standby to reach county roads if all else fails.

Hark wants to make sure the city and county practice what they preach when it comes to emergency management. The message: stay home. Hannibal City Hall is closed Tuesday. Court dockets are also canceled.