PEARL, MS (WLOX) - The late William Wade Guice, former Harrison County Civil Defense Director, was honored Thursday as the first name dedicated to the Mississippi Civil Defense/Emergency Management Association's Memorial Wall of Remembrance at the MEMA State Emergency Operations Center in Pearl.
The dedication ceremony was attended by MCDEMA members, state emergency management officials, Guice's wife—former City of Biloxi Civil Defense Director Julia Guice—and one of the Guice's sons, Reed.
Guice served Harrison County for 35 years from 1961-1996 and spent most of his life preaching hurricane preparedness around the world.
As Hurricane Camille approached Mississippi in August 1969, Guice begged people to evacuate vulnerable coastal areas. More than 130 people died in Mississippi, but Guice's efforts are credited with saving hundreds more.
He repeated to national media in the days following Camille, "Tell people to leave a hurricane prone area in plenty of time and they will never become a personal victim of the tragedy you see here today."
During the dedication ceremony, MCDEMA President Clifford Galey said, "Wade's actions prior to, during and after Camille proved that as our country, counties and cities grow in population, so does our responsibility for their safety. Wade Guice was a forefather in preparedness for hurricanes and to this day will always be remembered as 'Mr. Hurricane.'"
MEMA Director Mike Womack also commented, "Wade Guice set the standard for all emergency managers. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his tireless work to save lives and spread the message of evacuation to anyone who would listen."
Guice has also been honored with other recognitions in the state:
- The Wade Guice Hurricane Museum in the Maritime and Seafood Museum in Biloxi. This museum was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina but is being rebuilt.
- U.S. Hwy 15 in Harrison County was named by Legislative proclamation "The Wade Guice Memorial Highway".
Guice died on August 18, 1996, just one day after the 27th anniversary of Hurricane Camille. He was 69.