Emergency management director remembers sage advice from predecessor ahead of Camille anniversary

Emergency management director remembers sage advice from predecessor ahead of Camille anniversary

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The Hurricane Camille 50 exhibit at the Maritime Museum in Biloxi will dedicate the Hurricane Gallery in memory of Wade and Julia Guice, the husband and wife team who took civil defense to the next level before, during and after Camille.

“Water was good, water was peaceful, it’s calm, I mean, we live here in paradise, as he would say,” said current Harrison County EMA Director Rupert Lacy. “But when water gets angry, water will kill people.”

Lacy said that’s one of the key rules he learned from Wade Guice, who held the post from 1961 to 1996.

“Wade was a master of the trade because of Hurricane Camille in 1969,” Lacy added. “He set the bar. He implemented the heavy-duty rescue, the water rescue, and the civil defense office did that, and we received a lot of training and made it into what it is nowadays.”

Lacy said Guice and his team kicked things into high gear when they learned Camille was headed straight for the Coast, and not Florida, on the morning of Sunday, Aug. 17, 1969.

"It was trying to get everybody prepared, and remembering that Sunday morning, it was a scurry. People were like ants, trying to figure out how to prepare for a hurricane,” he said.

The rest, as they say, is history, as Camille wiped out the Gulf Coast with Category 5 fury.

"His message was always making sure the people were safe,” Lacy concluded.

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