St. CLOUD-Although she's been retired for more than two years, Beryl Wernberg is still being recognized for her work in emergency management.
Wernberg received the inaugural Director's Award for Outstanding Leadership during the recent Public Safety Communications conference, hosted by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Division of Emergency Communication Networks. She accepted the award April 29 in St. Cloud.
She also was one of multiple people to receive an Outstanding Leadership Award.
"We took a look at all of the different people who were nominated and all of the other people who were receiving the Outstanding Leadership Awards, and Beryl really was the one who stuck out to our director," Amber Schindeldecker with the Department of Public Safety said about Wernberg receiving the Director's Award.
By the time she retired, Wernberg had more than four decades of emergency management experience under her belt.
Wernberg attended BSU to become a high school English teacher but was unable to find a job in her field. Although it wasn't related to her education directly, she took a position as a dispatcher with the Bemidji Police Department.
"It sounded like an exciting thing-serving the public is a noble cause," Wernberg said. "Plus, you learn all kinds of things. That was the best part of this job. There's something new every day."
In the early 2000s, she was promoted to the position of dispatch supervisor, which eventually ballooned into the position of 911 communications director. That, however, was only one of the hats she wore throughout her career of 42 years. She also served as the Beltrami County emergency management director.
Between those positions, she covered a lot of ground. She sat on state committees. She wrote grants. She was a charter member for the Northwest Regional Radio Group. She supervised a crew of dispatchers and continued to dispatch herself.
Eventually, the position became too large for a single person, and they split the roles of 911 communications director and emergency management director into two jobs. That allowed her to train and mentor her replacement for the role of emergency management director.
"It was always an honor and a privilege to serve the citizens and my colleagues," Wernberg said of her career. "I really loved the camaraderie and the family atmosphere in law enforcement."