Carbon County's Emergency Management Agency coordinator has joined an elite group of emergency professionals.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, announced that Mark S. Nalesnik, Carbon County EMA coordinator, has earned the Certified Emergency Manager® recognition from the International Association of Emergency Managers, a non-profit organization that promotes the "Principles of Emergency Management" and represents individuals who work to save lives, property, and the environment during emergencies and disasters.

This is the highest honor of professional achievement in the IAEM, O'Gurek said, adding that the commissioners are proud of Nalesnik's work over the years and the dedication that he has shown to the county.

"We're obviously proud of Mark and all of our emergency responders," he said. "The work that gets done around this county every time a call is made is amazing. It starts at the top and we appreciate it."

To date, the CEM® designation is held by only 964 men and women in emergency management professions and is good for five years.

To obtain the certification, Nalesnik had to complete credential packages, provide both personal and professional achievements and complete a management essay and written exam.

According to the letter sent to the commissioners by Gordon Deno, the CEM® Commission chair, he states that in order for Nalesnik to maintain the CEM® certification, "he must continue a program of professional development over successive five-year periods in the future. Thus, this is an honor neither easily earned nor maintained."

The IAEM recognized Nalesnik's professional nature, saying, "As a CEM®, Mark S. Nalesnik demonstrated a high level of competence and ethical fitness for emergency management. Your organization is to be commended for having a professional of this caliber on staff."

Nalesnik said he was proud of the certification and thanked the county for the honor.

"It always feels good to strive to get more training and education because it allows me to serve the citizens of Carbon County better," Nalesnik said. "It teaches me more things so I can do a better job."

He said that he plans to continue to strive for more education so he can better prepare himself and the agency for emergencies.

Commissioners Wayne Nothstein and Charles Getz both congratulated Nalesnik for his efforts.

"Mark, you do a great job and we certainly appreciate it," Getz said.

Nothstein added that most people don't realize the amount of time that Nalesnik and other emergency personnel put in to guarantee the county residents remain safe.

"Mark is basically on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Congratulations on this certification."