After nearly a half-century of dedicated service to Buncombe County, EMS Director Jerry Vehaun will be stepping down from his post. Since Vehaun began the role in December of 1972, he has seen first-hand accounts of more emergencies, fires, accidents, floods, and natural disasters than most of us can even remember. Included in those were the 2004 storms that brought nearly two weeks of flooding and landslides, requiring constant monitoring and response efforts from Jerry’s team.
Jerry says stepping up when the residents of Buncombe County needed him the most has been his favorite part of the job, noting that, “Being able to help citizens affected by disasters or other large scale emergencies,” is something he will miss after he retires. The other thing Jerry will remember fondly when he leaves? “The employees of Buncombe County." And after 47 years, he’s created numerous long-lasting friendships.
Jerry adds one of the best aspects of the job was also helping those in need outside of Buncombe County. “Being able to assist with disasters involving hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, etc. in different parts of the country… Being a member of the federal Disaster Mortuary Operations Response Team (DMORT) allowed me to be a part of 9/11 in New York and Hurricanes Katrina and Floyd where many deaths occurred, and also being a member of the North Carolina State Emergency Response Team.”
It takes a special person to spend nearly 50 years responding to moments that can be the worst part of someone’s life, and that’s why Buncombe County is so grateful for Jerry’s unwavering service.
Buncombe County would like to commend Jerry for a peerless career dedicated to helping those in times of great need. Thank you so much, we can’t imagine what our County would be without you. We wish you well in retirement and your next adventures.