IUKA -- When there's an emergency in town, a particular woman comes to the rescue and it's not Superwoman. Meet Payton Berklite, the Tishomingo County Emergency Management Director.

For the past six years, Berklite has been a liaison between local and state government.

"My job is to build relationships throughout the county with the mayors and board of supervisors. I also focus on the needs of the community," said Berklite, a Mississippi State University alumni.

By focusing on community needs some of the tasks Berklite's job pertains to is looking for grants to help citizens and writing plans.

"When anything disastrous happens in Tishomingo County, such as house fires or tornados, I'm the one who reports it to Mississippi Emergency Management," said the Dennis resident.

Berklite also volunteers with the Red Cross to provide immediate assistance to families who experienced a house fire or disaster. Sometimes her job takes her to surrounding counties, she said.

Last year, the Red Cross provided smoke alarms to families in Tishomingo County. Berklite and several firefighters installed 570 fire alarms in the county.

"I'm always looking for ways to help in my community," said the Greenwood native.

Berklite works closely with E-911 and the fire coordinator in the community. She is also the flood plane administrator for Tishomingo County.

"I do this to make sure we are in good standing with the National Flood Insurance Program so we can apply for shelter and mitigation grants," said the former general manager for Saks Incorporated.

She also does the badging and credentialing at the Tishomingo County Courthouse.

Berklite enjoys working in emergency management, she said.

"I have became very involved with the community and this career has allowed me to meet so many wonderful people," she said. "I feel as if I've lived here forever."

Berklite has a bachelor's degree in marketing and business. When she isn't working, she enjoys going to fundraisers, hanging out in Jackson with old college roommates, traveling and spending time with family and friends. She also enjoys bicycling, reading and being outside in the sun.

Berklite is married to her husband, Chuck of 25 years. Together they have three fur babies, two small dogs Bebe and Macy, and one 24-pound Maine Coon cat, Smoke.

Staff Writer

Gabby Boyd is a native of Iuka and a graduate of the University of Souther Mississippi where she majored in broadcast journalism. She is a staff writer for the Daily Corinthian and an published fantasy fiction author.

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