JOPLIN, MO. --- Deputy Administrator of FEMA Richard Serino has been in Joplin half a dozen times over the past two and half years.
"Each time that I come back I am more inspired than the last time that I was here," says Serino.
Serino was in Joplin just hours after the May 2011 tornado.
"As my last official trip as Deputy Administrator of FEMA to come to Joplin for me was personal in many ways, because I saw the great work that happened, the inital response," says Serino.
Because of his response and efforts during the tornado recovery, Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean presented him with a City Proclamation at Joplin Fire Station #4.
"I remember when he was with the one that got destroyed just seeing the look of devastation on his face. I think it's just a significant point to be here to say this is something we've rebuilt," says Mayor Colbert-Kean .
Both the mayor and Fire Chief Mitch Randles credited Serino's guidance and assistance during the recovery process.
Following a tour of the new fire station, Randles presented him with a medal created for tornado first responders.
"The work that he did throughout the city and to replace our fire stations, replace our vehicles was invaluable to us," says Randles.
During today's cermemony, Serino mentioned Joplin as the gold standard when it comes to recovery.
"The gold standard is how they were not just able to look at one part. They were able to look at the entire whole community," Serino says.
"When he thinks of resilience he thinks of Joplin and I love that," says Mayor Colbert-Kean.
Serino will retire from FEMA effective January 23rd. He plans to return to his home of Boston.
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