Here at the Hernando Sun, we are endeavoring to identify and cover exemplary members of the community and shine a light on these individuals for the rest of the county to discover. In the coming weeks, the Sun will be highlighting many such residents as part of our Hernando Heroes series. To be considered for this spotlight, the Hernando County resident must first be nominated by another. We have received over a dozen Hernando Hero nominations and thank the community for their input. This week’s Hernando Hero is Bill Hall, who was nominated by Devon Sobut, a member of the Hernando County school system. Hall, who also works with the School District in the Facilities and Construction Department, supports their operations through a variety of means.
“In my current position, as the Fire Official/Plans Examiner for the School District,” Hall said. “I deal with fire code-related compliance standards that apply to educational facilities. One of my many performance responsibilities is to serve as liaison between School District and the Hernando County Emergency Management Team as the Emergency Support Function (ESF) #6 Mass Care opening and closing of shelters.”
While their Transportation Director Ralph Leath handles ESF #1, the transportation of special needs residents, Hall coordinates between Emergency Management, the District Leadership Team, the Cabinet, and the Superintendent of Schools to ensure the timely opening and closing of shelters. Hall also ensures that they are staffed correctly and have supplies and necessities to provide support for the community when it comes to shelter operations.
What led Hall to this career, and how did he get started?
Beginning in 2003, Hall was a subcontractor performing services for the school district, including the installation of cameras, burglar alarms, and access control. When the Safety and Security Coordinator for the school district, Barry Crowley, “needed people to open up shelters due to a no-name storm,” Hall was selected to assist with opening Moton Elementary School for shelter operations. This three-day event of opening the shelter to residents in the eastern portion of Hernando County was “how I got my feet wet as far as shelter operations” were concerned.
Roughly a year later, in 2004, Hall was hired to work in the district under Crowley in the Safety and Security Department. His full-time role entailed much of what he had been doing before as a subcontractor, as far as installing cameras, access control, and working with fire alarms.
Hall showed his dedication when the position of fire inspector became available in the department. According to Hall, he put forth his own vacation time and funds and spent four weeks at the State Fire College getting his Fire Inspector Certification. Once he received his certification for the school district, Hall worked under Crowley once more as the District Fire Inspector. His duties as a fire inspector entailed him being one of the district’s “Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) point of contact.” Since 2007, his role has remained mostly the same regarding working with the EOC in position ESF #6.
“It’s a great responsibility,” said Hall. “I’m proud to work with this team for both the school district and the county. When it comes down to an emergency, we all seem to pull together for the residents of this county to make this happen safely. Everybody I work with is dedicated, and the staff in EOC, I can’t say enough. They’re just outstanding to work with. Our Cabinet Team, our staff that work the shelters, and the EOC, they’re all dedicated to helping the residents of this county and [helping] our shelter operations succeed as a whole.”
Hall, born in College Point, Queens, New York, is an army veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division and 9th Infantry Division and served from 1983 to 1987. Having served during Operation Urgent Fury, he assisted with the evacuation of students on the island of Granada during the military occupation. Now married to his wife, Patsy, since 2016, the pair enjoy a variety of hobbies in their free time. They grow their own food in their backyard, go kayaking in Citrus County, exercise on walking trails, and own an energetic schnauzer named Cooper.