Pittsylvania County Staff Members Again Mourn Loss Of Employee To COVID-19 | Govt. and politics

For the second time in as many months, Pittsylvania County is reeling from the loss of a government employee to COVID-19.

Terry Whitt, 53, died on Christmas Day. He joined the department in 2003 as Coordinator of the Geographic Information System.

“Terry was one of the easiest people to understand I have had the pleasure of working with,” said Deputy County Administrator Dave Arnold, who was Whitt’s supervisor. “While Terry had meticulous attention to detail and a solid technical background, he was also very social.”

His duties during his 18 years with Pittsylvania County included creating and maintaining dozens of layers that make up the County Geographic Information System map. The map is a computerized means of analyzing and displaying data and forms a basis for many county operations.

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“He has always sought to find common ground and placed a great deal of importance on building relationships and supporting the organization at large,” said Arnold.

He has worked on many projects like the computer-aided dispatch system upgrade and the new 911 system.

Ronnie Fowler, the county 911 manager, has known Whitt since they attended Dan River High School together. If they encountered a problem, such as when the fire or rescue services were struggling to find a 911 address, Whitt would step in to fix the problem.

For the past two years, Fowler has worked closely with Whitt as he updated the maps for the improved 911 system.

“These updates were a vital link in ensuring that our staff are able to send the fastest response to emergency calls,” Fowler explained in an email to Register & Bee. “He was a perfectionist when it came to his job and that’s exactly why I knew he could be counted on to make sure our 911 center was ready for whatever came our way. “

Whitt’s expertise in cartography has also helped guide the county when planning music festivals in the fall. He offered to work weekends to help Pittsyvalnia County public safety personnel prepare maps and data ahead of events, including the Blue Ridge Rock Festival, the largest event in the history of the region.

“Terry quickly and selflessly recognized that these music festivals might require ‘everyone on the bridge’ and stepped forward to lend a hand,” said Arnold.

Beyond the professional side, Whitt is remembered as a human person.

“Terry was one of the easiest people to understand I have had the pleasure of working with,” said Arnold.

Karen Hayes, deputy director of community development, worked with Whitt for 18 years and said he was part of the “little team” when his office moved to community development.

“We shared the joy, the laughter, the stress and the heartache. Terry was such a sweet, caring and hardworking man,” said Hayes. “I feel like a piece of our working family is missing that can never be replaced.”

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