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Duane’s FEMA Memorial

Written by Duane Bradford. Last updated Saturday June 28th, 2014

Duane Bradford joined FEMA kicking and screaming. He had retired as press secretary for the Florida House, having decided it was the last stop for him as a paid writer. He rejected several suggestions from his buddy Don North that he apply as a FEMA reservist. Then a disaster came along and FEMA opened a field office in Tallahassee. Duane grudgingly accepted an invitation to tour the facility and see disaster public affairs in action. He liked what he saw and that began a 15 year affiliation with FEMA Region IV in which he became a treasured right hand aid to Mary Hudak, and many others, as a lead PIO, writer, and cheerleader. As an interviewer and mentor, he helped to select PIO candidates and develop a robust regional PIO cadre. Duane never said no when called on to help.

He loved it all. It was his first taste of real authority after a career in the minefields of daily journalism and, at its end, the boredom of legislative and speechwriting. He came to FEMA rich in writing skills and experience and welcomed the opportunity to learn new terms, new names and faces and new geography. He wrote for the disaster survivors FEMA served, and he wrote just for Duane with his online reporter’s notebook. Duane had a lot of friends at FEMA, including an older brother, Vernon, whom he recruited and who survives him. The Bradford brothers were a welcome addition to any field office for their humor, writing talent and editing skills. Duane was the conservative sock-wearing brother; Vernon the sockless joker. They were both members of the extraordinary and highly talented cadre of LOM’s, who along with Don North, (still among the living), included George Thune, Jim Barrett, John Harper and honorary member Jay Eaker. We can imagine today that Duane has joined George, Jim, Jay and John in that heavenly field office where the coffee is always hot, the doughnuts are always fresh and the news releases are always approved by the state.

Duane’s own obituary may be viewed at: www.reportersnotebook.net