JASPER COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Jasper County has certainly seen its share of disasters.
"We've seen the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Ike, the Hurricane Katrina sheltering evacuation, etc.," said Jasper County Judge Mark Allen.
Jasper County received grant funding from the state to build their own emergency operations center on the second floor of the County Courthouse Annex. It was set to complete later this spring, but things changed with the recent intense flooding disaster.
"We had a meeting last week with the State of Texas that wanted to set up operations out of this center because they knew that Newton County was going to have a lot of damage," Allen said.
The center became a Multi-Agency Coordination Center as several departments locally, as well as from the State and U.S. Military, used the building as a headquarters. They all worked together to help assist the areas affected by the severe flooding in several different ways.
"We've been tracking the water levels, the crest levels, the personnel responses, the number of evacuations, the number of people in shelters, the resources needed for shelters, doing damage assessment, and coordinating all of that for all of the agencies," Allen explained.
It's been a long two weeks for everyone involved.
"Most of us haven't slept very much and most of the people here are working over 18 hours a day," said Jasper and Newton Co. emergency Manager Billy Ted Smith.
"It was definitely a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of coffee." Allen said.
Aside from a few technical kinks, Jasper County officials are very pleased with how well the center served in a time of emergency.
"It was a real challenge, but the space we have here and the technologies made it everything work out great," Smith said.
"It worked out well and I'm pleased with it," Allen said.
Most of the agencies have cleared out as of Friday. Commissioners from both Jasper and Newton County met with state officials to begin the procedure of getting disaster relief funding.