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Honoring Sandy Covall-Alves

Rep. Lynn Woolsey

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today, together with my colleague, Congressman Mike Thompson, to recognize Sandy Covall-Alves who is retiring after 30 years in the emergency management field, the last 16 of which was as Emergency Manager for Sonoma County's Fire & Emergency Services Department and the Sonoma County Operational Area. For those 30 years, she dedicated herself to making sure that people in her charge were safe and received the resources they need in the wake of natural disasters.

During her tenure in Sonoma County, Ms. Covall-Alves coordinated the response, recovery and mitigation efforts for the 1995-1999 and 2006 winter storms and floods, the 1996 Cavedale fire, and the 1998 Rio Nido debris flow. In total, she oversaw the implementation of 14 local emergency proclamations, 12 Emergency Operations Center activations, 8 gubernatorial proclamations and 6 events that were designated by the President as national disasters. Our offices appreciated working with her, knowing that she knew how to pull all her connections together for a coordinated response.

Ms. Covall-Alves was also the guiding force in establishing, implementing and coordinating emergency programs for the county, its cities and special districts. Her commitment to improving emergency management did not stop at the county line. She is a founding member and current Chair of the California Operational Area Coalition (COAC), a forum for information exchange and advocacy on emergency management issues. The COAC's mission is to enhance closer cooperation and collaboration with members of the organization and with the State Emergency Management Agency.

Ms. Covall-Alves began her career in emergency management as a 9-1-1 dispatcher for the Tuolumne County Sheriffs Department. After developing disaster recovery plans for private businesses, she returned to public service with the San Mateo County OES and from there was deployed to the 1994 Northridge earthquake in Southern California as part of the state's mutual aid program. She joined Sonoma County OES in 1995 and quickly became an integral part of the county's response and recovery team.

Mr. Speaker, Sandy Covall-Alves has had a long and distinguished career in serving and protecting the people of the State of California. We wish her well in her retirement as she enjoys time with her husband, Ron Alves, and their three special pets, Beelsey, Mowese and Wilson.