Mike Henderson calls it training for work he hopes he'll never have to do.
Since joining the Jackson County Medical Examiner's Office in 2007 as Chief of Forensic Operations and Investigations, Mike has taken a leadership role in the establishment of and now the ongoing development of the Kansas City Operational Response Group -- a group that would response to a mass-fatality event occurring in the KC metropolitan region. Counties on both sides of the Kansas-Missouri border participate in the group, which has conducted one mass-fatality drill and is currently planning a second large-scale exercise.
"It's something you hope you never have to do, but it's training you have to do, absolutely," stated Mike, who directed mortuary operations after the devastating Joplin tornado May 22, 2011.
The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) has honored Mike for his work in Joplin and with the Operational Response Group. MARC presented him one of its Regional Leadership Award during its 16th Annual Regional Assembly on June 1.
The awards, MARC notes, "honor organizations and individuals who have advocated a vision of a strong, healthy region; demonstrated commitment to the region's growth and success; and encouraged others to support and work toward that vision."
Mike serves as commander of the Region VII Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team (DMORT), which was deployed to Joplin following the F5 tornado that struck the southwest Missouri community last May. DMORT's are Federal response teams that provide assistance to local authorities seeking to recover and identify the remains of victims of a disaster.