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North Carolina emergency response director Mike Sprayberry to retire

Mike Sprayberry, the head of North Carolina’s emergency management operations since 2013, will retire Aug. 1, the Department of Public Safety announced Friday.

After Gov. Roy Cooper, Sprayberry has been the most visible face for state government’s efforts to prepare for and recover from hurricanes, snowstorms and other natural emergencies. Sprayberry, with more than 40 years of state service, has led the State Emergency Response Team in 19 state-declared disasters and 11 federally declared disasters, including Hurricane Florence in 2018, the department said.

Sprayberry “has served our state with distinction, keeping North Carolinians safe through unprecedented natural disasters and a global pandemic,” Cooper said in a news release, adding he’s “worked to make our state more resilient and prepared than ever to withstand future storms and emergencies and overcome challenges.”

A Charlotte native, Sprayberry is a former Marine and North Carolina National Guard member who became deputy emergency management director in 2005.

Sprayberry always tells viewers of televised COVID-19 news conferences in which he participates to check in on loved ones.

“I guarantee they’ll appreciate it,” he said in a familiar refrain last summer. “With kindness and cooperation, we’ll all get through this together as one team, one mission and one family.”

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