How a 2-star Army general took charge of a broken cityAssociated Press
By: Tamara Lush
October 28, 2018
"There was a gentleman who needed a kidney," he says casually.PANAMA CITY, Fla. — Mark McQueen’s sand-colored combat boots have walked the ground during many disasters.
That's right. In the last four months, McQueen has retired from the military, started a new job, helped coordinate one of the largest hurricane responses since Katrina, and donated a kidney. To a stranger.
Florida's Panama City.
Then-Maj. Gen. Mark McQueen, commanding general, 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training), takes a moment to praise the soldiers of the Special Troops Battalion, 304th Sustainment Brigade, for their 12 months of serving as CRC Cycle 4 at the Conus Replacement Center on Jan. 13, 2017, after their transfer of authority ceremony at Fort Bliss, Texas. (DVIDS)The two-star general had no sooner retired from the Army and started his job as city manager for this Gulf Coast community when it was slammed by a category 4 hurricane. Hurricane Michael became the most devastating hurricane to hit Florida in decades. Almost all of Panama City's water, sewer, electric and cell services were wiped out.
Despite McQueen having no municipal experience and having been on the job only two weeks, city leaders say he's exactly the man they need for the long recovery ahead.
"I believe the Lord sent him," said Panama City Commissioner Billy Rader. "God knew this was going to happen before we did."
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