Butler County EMA director Shirley Sandy passes away

Published 2:01 pm Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Butler County Emergency Management Agency director Shirley Sandy has passed away. She was 52.

Greenville Police Department chief Justin Lovvorn, who was among the officers who responded to a call at Sandy’s South Conecuh Street residence Tuesday night, said that the specific cause of death was undetermined. Though the investigation thus far would suggest that she died of natural causes, he said that it hadn’t yet been 100-percent confirmed.

“Just before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday night, we were called to her residence,” Lovvorn said.

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“We found that she was unresponsive, and the police department is conducting a death investigation, which is standard—it’s something we do anytime there’s not a preexisting illness or an obvious cause of death, even if it appears to be natural.”

Lovvorn added that the department hadn’t found anything that would suggest foul play.

Since 2011, Sandy has served Butler County in her capacity as EMA director  by helping program weather radios for hundreds of county residents and publicize their importance.

Most recently, she helped coordinate a number of mock full-scale emergency scenarios across the county to aid first responders in their preparedness of such an event.

Sandy also served as the county’s frontline of defense in the event of inclement weather.

Her role extended far beyond what the public was able to perceive, according to Lovvorn, adding that Butler County was a better place because of her work.

“She had a tremendous impact on this county, the city and our department in particular,” Lovvorn said. “She took her job very seriously and put a lot of herself into her job, and she actually wanted to make a difference. I feel like she did, because we were able to get—with her help—certain things for the department that benefits the public through grants that she helped us with that we probably wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise.

“She was just one of those who would always help any time she could and go out of her way to do something for someone else. I can’t say enough good things about her and what she did for this county while she was here, and we’re definitely going to miss her.”

Butler County commissioner Darrell Sanders said that Sandy’s work ethic was strong and her personality was to help, and that’s just what she did.

“She was extremely dedicated to her job,” Sanders said.  “She worked hard the entire time that she was EMA director to try to make our county and our people safer.”

Sanders also reflected on how Sandy’s savvy with technology proved a benefit to the entire commission.

When she came into this job, the commission was way behind with technology, and she was just light years ahead,” he continued.  And she was striving to take us even farther.  You couldn’t ask for a better employee, and she was a great asset to her county.”