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Barrow fire honors longtime community group leader

WINDER -- Barrow County Emergency Services recently honored a dedicated volunteer.

For seven years, Robert "Bob" Richardson served the department's Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, helping increase the group's presence as a founding member. The CERT program was created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is aimed at educating residents in disaster preparedness.

After attending Barrow County's initial class, Richardson was "very motivated in his efforts" to promote the program and "place the team in the public eye as often as possible," fire department spokesman Lt. Scott Dakin said.

"Bob Richardson was one of the first faces you saw when you started with the Barrow County CERT program for the seven years it has been in existence," current CERT president Mike Wilson said. "He is affectionately known by CERT members as Father CERT. He will be missed by all of us as he moves on to his next chapter of his life."

Richardson recently retired from the group.

During an awards dinner, he was presented with a plaque, certificate and slideshow displaying the history of CERT in Barrow County. In 2012, Barrow CERT members attended 27 community events and accrued nearly 1,500 volunteer hours.