A Wealth of Local Knowledge and History; Bob Pickering Named October Positive Person of the Month

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Bob Pickering’s first day on the job at Marineland was June 8, 1983 at the age of 16. During his eleven years at Marineland, he worked as a Custodian, Playport Attendant, Guide, Ticket Taker, Diver, Dolphin Trainer, Announcer and Lab Technician.  After leaving Marineland in 1994, he began working with Flagler County Emergency Management. He recently celebrated his 29th year with FCEM on July 5, 2023.

In addition to his work with Flagler County Emergency Management, he also operates FlaglerWeatherInfo on Facebook.

“Bob has been a long time resident who has reported no fuss weather reports, as well as other local emergency reports. He is a wealth of local knowledge and history!” Flagler County resident Crystal Rodriguez tells us.

Another Flagler County resident, Kristi Mason says, “Bob is not only an awesome emergency management specialist, he is one of the kindest people. It is very hard to have a bad day with Bob around!” Kristi Mason said.

Bob explained, “I am so fortunate to have done the things in the past at Marineland and the things I do today in Emergency Management. I love what I do and I am passionate about it. Emergency Management is a learning experience. No matter how long you are in this line of work, you are constantly learning things. I love it!”

Mr. Pickering has not always been a Flagler County resident, although most of his life has been spent in the area. He explained, “I moved here in November of 1980 from the Boston area with my parents.  During that time, I was in school and I started working at Marineland of Florida, part time. I graduated High School in 1986 and began working full time until 1994. Also during this time, around 1985, myself and two friends from high school started Flagler County Assist (FCA), a volunteer group to help with emergency communications and other support. FCA is still here today and I am still involved. I left Marineland in 1994 to pursue my current career in Emergency Management (it was called Civil Defense then) in July of 1994 making it 29 years of serving the people of Flagler County.”

Bob also shared with us how he spends his time when he’s not working. “I am, along with my wife, an avid train enthusiast. We do rail photography as a hobby and have traveled extensively photographing trains, even to the UK. We are also Sci-Fi fans, particularly Doctor Who, and we cosplay at various events and conventions.”

We asked Bob if he could think of a time when he went above and beyond the call of duty, whether it be professional or personal. He recalled, “I can name a few but if I could pin down one, it would be during the 1998 Wildfires. The fire forced the evacuation of the FCSO Dispatch center and in the time it took to get the mobile command set up, it was myself, some staff and a number of FCA volunteers that managed dispatch duration that chaotic time.  There is no way we could have pulled that off without the volunteers.”

On he topic of the most rewarding thing that has happened during his professional career, Bob shared that it’s a common occurrence. “I really can’t pin down one, but when a storm is potentially going to affect us and I get a caller on the phone who is scared or not sure what to do, I talk them through it and when I hang up they are feeling a lot better and have a handle on their situation. That has happened a lot of times and is very rewarding to me.”

Like most of us, Bob has seen his fair share of challenges throughout his life. We asked how he overcame those challenges and kept a positive attitude. “I am dyslexic and I am scatterbrained and that sometimes is a challenge to manage. The most challenging thing of late was kidney cancer. Now, as far as cancer goes, my experience was very low end. It was disruptive and it had me out of work for 8 plus weeks due to complications. I am proud to say, so far no signs of recurrence. With that said, my message to everyone out there is when you notice something off don’t wait. GET it checked out,” he said.

This lead to our next question which was how he stays positive in the face of adversity. “I generally just do. I have found it’s better to take on challenges with humor and sometimes it can be challenging, but sometimes I will look to things I saw in “Doctor Who” (there are a lot of good quotes) to help me,” he explained.

When asked if there was anything else that he’d like everyone to know, he told us, “I work hard, play harder. Do all the things, have all the adventures, take all the photos, dance in the rain, body surf at midnight under the full moon… You get the picture. One of my favorite Doctor Who quotes is “Hate is Foolish, Love is Wise, always try to be nice, never fail to be kind”.

By Kim Hunt

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