ADEL, Iowa — While storms can often wreak havoc, Dallas County Emergency Management coordinator Barry Halling has seen them bring out the best in Iowans in his four decades of service.
“It is a little more prevalent in the heartland, but you see it all over. People helping people and neighbor helping neighbor.”
A retirement ceremony in Adel on Friday allowed community members to show their appreciation for a man who was dedicated to keeping Dallas County as safe as possible.
“I’ve got a scanner that has been running for 42 years,” said Halling.
Fellow emergency management and first responders from counties like Marion, Adair, Guthrie, Boone, Story, Polk, and Warren all honored Halling. He said, “It was a little bit overwhelming, but I couldn’t have done any of this the last 42 years without these folks.”
For a man who is always prepared for the worst of what weather can bring, it was not a storm rolling in that caught him by surprise–it was his son.
“He does logistics for the carrier. I had in the back of my head, you know, he is a logistics guy, but no, that wouldn’t happen. He wouldn’t show up,” he said.
Barry’s son, Lieutenant William Halling, serves in the Navy on the USS Carl Vinson. He grabbed one of the final seats on the plane from California to Iowa.
“I happened to go to the American Airlines website and there were five seats left on this flight this morning. I booked it and here I am,” said Lieutenant Halling.
He knew it was a moment his father deserved.
“He’s had a job for 42 years where when people run out, he runs in, and he’s been a stakeholder in this community.”
As the clouds and wind roll in on Friday, it seems like Iowa is trading in spring weather for winter temperatures; it’s fitting that Mother Nature will give Barry one last storm to watch over.
“I’m just hoping Mother Nature lays it really quiet until the 17th,” he said.
Now it is Barry’s turn to lay low into retirement. He said, “Even though I’m saying I won’t miss it, I’ll miss it.”
Barry Halling was also given the United States flag that was flown on top of the Dallas County Courthouse. His last day is Monday, April 16th.