Talmadge Magno
Talmadge Magno, photo: UH Foundation

As the civil defense administrator for the County of Hawaiʻi, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo graduate Talmadge Magno heads the office that is tasked with coordinating the county’s emergency preparedness and response program. The magnitude of the job can be overwhelming at times, but it also comes with great rewards.

“Sometimes you go, ‘Am I cut out for this?’” he said. “But you have to understand that there’s going to be some really rough days.”

In 2018 alone, Hawaiʻi Island saw the Kīlauea eruption in May followed by an active hurricane season. Magno says the reward is the appreciation he feels and words of thanks he gets from people in the community.

“A passion I find in emergency response is supporting the community, our state, our country. That’s the reward,” said Magno.

Magno graduated from UH Hilo with a degree in geography. He worked for 30 years in the National Park Service and then for eight years as chief ranger of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park before taking on the role of civil defense administrator.