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Llano County welcomes new state emergency management liaison

Gilbert Bennett and Bobby Mims

Llano County Emergency Management Coordinator Gilbert Bennett (left) with newly hired Texas Division of Emergency Management Llano County Liaison Officer Bobby Mims. Mims will work alongside Bennett to bolster the county’s ability to respond to disasters and coordinate with the state to get funding and resources for disaster relief. Staff photo by Dakota Morrissiey

Newly hired Texas Division of Emergency Management Liaison Officer Bobby Mims was introduced during the Llano County Commissioners Court’s regular meeting on Monday, Feb. 27. A state employee, Mims will represent Llano County to the state and federal governments when acquiring disaster relief for the county, planning for large-scale local emergencies, and supporting county emergency management efforts.

Mims was hired at the recommendation of County Judge Ron Cunningham and Emergency Management Coordinator Gilbert Bennett after the state created the position of TDEM county liaison officer in April 2022

As a county liaison officer, Mims will be in direct contact with the state to help garner state and federal funding for disaster recovery.

“There’s millions and millions of dollars at stake here,” Mims told the Commissioners Court.

He will focus on properly documenting the county’s emergency responses and work with Bennett in planning for disaster recovery. Through proper documentation, the county will be in a better position to receive grants, funding, and resources from state and federal programs.

Texas leads the country in major disaster declarations. According to a TDEM report, 102 major disaster declarations have been made in the state since 1953, the equivalent of one disaster every eight months. The state has received 371 federal grants for emergency services in that same timeframe.

Llano County is just one of 100 counties to have received a TDEM liaison officer.

“I’m very thankful to be able to serve my community,” Mims told the court. “I told Judge Cunningham that as long as I felt like I was bringing a positive impact to my community and to the citizens of Llano County, I would do this job.”

Mims has 42 years’ experience in firefighting and emergency management and has been a Llano County resident since 2012. He helped coordinate rescue efforts in the Rio Llano neighborhood during the historic flooding of 2018 when the small community was cut off because of high waters on all exit roads. 

“I don’t know what we would have done without him during the flood,” said Commissioner Jerry Don Moss. “It would have been really good to have him on board from the start.”

Bennett and Mims were fellow teachers on the state firefighter training circuit, and they bring a combined 84 years’ emergency management experience to Llano County.