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Harrisonburg: Paul Helmuth honored at JMU’s Public Service Recognition program

Paul Helmuth Harrisonburg
Jennifer A. Taylor, PhD, CFRE, the Program Director for the Master of Public Administration program at James Madison University, Harrisonburg Deputy Emergency Coordinator and Harrisonburg Fire Department Administrative Officer Paul Helmuth, Harrisonburg Department of Public Works Director Tom Hartman, Harrisonburg Fire Department Fire Chief Matthew Tobia. Photo by Michelle Krone, Department of Political Science, James Madison University.

Paul Helmuth, Harrisonburg’s deputy emergency coordinator and administrative officer for the Harrisonburg Fire Department, was recognized this week as part of the 2022 Public Service Awards hosted by James Madison University’s Master of Public Administration program.

The effort, which culminated with an awards ceremony on Wednesday night, recognizes individuals’ dedication to putting community needs above their own. Helmuth was honored for his commitment to the Harrisonburg community throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

As the city’s expert on emergency management, Helmuth has overseen Harrisonburg’s efforts related to combating the pandemic locally and has led the charge to bring resources such as masks, testing events and vaccination clinics to The Friendly City over the past two years. He also was honored in October 2021 by Dr. Laura Kornegay, then-director of the Central Shenandoah Health District, for his service to the greater Shenandoah Valley region.

“Paul’s contribution to safeguarding our community against the pandemic has been nothing short of extraordinary,” HFD Fire Chief Matthew Tobia said. “Paul’s commitment to public service has not only saved lives – it will form the basis by which our community prepares for future catastrophic events. We especially appreciate the JMU MPA Program for providing a platform to recognize exemplary public servants.”

“Paul is an extremely dedicated public servant,” Harrisonburg Director of Public Works Tom Hartman added.

Hartman nominated Helmuth for the award after seeing all Helmuth did to protect City staff during the pandemic and ensure City services could continue unchanged despite challenges posed by COVID-19.

“I am so excited that he has been honored with the Excellence in Public Service Award,” Hartman said.

You can learn more about the Public Service Awards, and others honored in our region, at public-service-awards.shtml.

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