James Zymanek, Director of Emergency Services to retire

The Town of Amherst Director of Emergency Services, James Zymanek, will be retiring at the end of June after almost 45 years of service to the community. In 1980, Zymanek began working for the Amherst Highway Department, eager to learn everything he could across its many departments and services. He quickly began to see the need for a strategic disaster response mechanism in Amherst, and after the flood of 1985, so did the Town.

Working days for the highway department and nights developing an emergency response service plan, Zymanek knew there were lives at stake. Every time residents were left without access to food, heat or transportation, hundreds of emergency responders were asked to risk their own safety to help others. His dedication to public education and preparedness eventually led to a full-time role where he was no longer reactionary. As the Emergency Manager, Zymanek would now plan year-round in anticipation of natural disasters, disease outbreak, and other potential risks to residents. In addition to pioneering emergency management for the Town, Zymanek served as a New York State Fire & Emergency Services instructor, and Fire Chief for the Village of Williamsville twice.

Zymanek plans to serve as an assistant fire chief for the Village in his retirement. Zymanek has spent more than 34 years on-call 24/7 for residents in the Town of Amherst and Village of Williamsville. He has answered countless cries for help, comforted neighbors in crisis and sacrificed moments of presence with his own family in tireless planning for the safety and well-being of others. To Mr. Zymanek we as a community owe our deepest gratitude.