Now, after a 41-year career in public service, Wise has earned a well deserved retirement.
Local government officials, first responders and community members recently gathered at the Justice Center to express their appreciation to Wise for his dedicated service to the community during a retirement party in his honor.
The Wayne County commissioners were amongst the many community members who were on hand to mark the end of Wise’s remarkable career of public service.
Commissioner Ann Obrecht summed up Wise’s long list of accomplishments, as captured in a resolution issued by the commissioners in his honor.
After retiring from the Wooster Police Department with the rank of lieutenant, Wise joined the Wayne County Emergency Management Agency in 1995 as an emergency management technician.
In 2000, Wise was appointed director of the agency, becoming only the second full-time director of the agency since its inception in 1972.
“John has guided Wayne County’s response to many disaster situations, including several tornados, ice storms, flooding and an abandoned gas well leak affecting the city of Rittman,” recounted Obrecht, adding that Wise has also assisted other Ohio counties when disasters struck their areas.
According to Obrecht, during his tenure as director Wise has focused attention on the need to improve public safety communications in the county, resulting in upgraded communications towers, enhanced 911 capabilities and upgraded law enforcement car-to-car and dispatch center capabilities, a computer-aided dispatch center system and a state of the art communications vehicle.
Wise also provided numerous specialized training programs to local officials and emergency responders and developed and maintained multiple emergency response plans.
Obrecht noted that Wise obtained and managed 45 grants worth nearly $4 million awarded to the county from various federal agencies.
Wise was a member of the Emergency Managers Association of Ohio, where he served for eight years on the executive committee and one term as president, the Northeast Ohio Emergency Managers Association, the Wayne County Fire Chiefs Association, the Wayne County Law Enforcement Association, the Wayne County Trustees Association and the Mayor’s Association.
“John’s 41 years of public service, first with the city of Wooster, then with Wayne County, has always been dedicated to the safety of the citizens of Wayne County and the protection of their property,” said Obrecht, adding, “he will be greatly missed.”
Wise also received recognition from a host of public officials and organizations, including Gov. John Kasich, the Ohio House of Representatives, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency, the Wayne County Fire Chiefs Association and the Northeast Ohio Emergency Managers Association.
David Smith, of the MEDWAY Drug Enforcement Agency, was also on hand to personally thank Wise for his efforts to provide his agents with much needed communications equipment and for his ongoing support to the agency.
“You’ve always been there for me when I’ve had any questions or concerns and I really appreciate it,” said Smith.
Wayne County Sheriff Tom Maurer, who has worked side by side with Wise for four decades, also shared his thoughts on Wise’s long and distinguished career.
“Having worked with John for nearly 40 years, I can truly say John has always had the safety of this county and its safety service responders held to the utmost respect,” said Maurer.
“He has served in many different capacities over his career but always has worked in a professional and a trustworthy position,” said Maurer. “John’s efforts to better our communities are noted.”
Published: September 28, 2011