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PTSD and alcohol cause MEMA director to resign

On Saturday Governor Bryant was made aware of a situation involving the executive director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, Lee Smithson.

As a result, Gov. Bryant accepted Smithson’s resignation that afternoon.

Today Smithson sent out a statement explaining his reasoning.

MEMA External Affairs Director Greg Flynn confirmed the statement.

“After deploying to Iraq and responding to the horrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, I suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. For years, I failed to pursue treatment, believing I could handle this on my own. My coping mechanism was alcohol. The stress of running the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency only compounded my issues. For the past year, I have been receiving treatment for PTSD. However, my dependence on alcohol has affected my ability to properly run our state’s emergency management agency. In consultation with Governor Bryant, he and I both believe the best thing for my family, me and the people of Mississippi is for me to step down from MEMA and focus on my physical and mental health. It has been a true honor to serve the people of Mississippi during times of disaster.  My family and I ask for prayers and privacy as I start my journey to recovery. They have been my greatest supporters in this difficult decision,” said Smithson.

Flynn said he was surprised by this on Saturday and did not know any information at the time of the resignation.

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