Mason County Native Sworn In As First Woman to Lead FEMA

A native from Mason County was recently sworn in as the first woman to lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Deanne Criswell, who grew up from Free Soil, was sworn in Monday as the new FEMA administrator.

Criswell is a graduate of Manistee Catholic Central High School.

She served as a member of the Colorado National Guard and was a firefighter for more than 20 years.

In 2019, she became the emergency manager for New York City.

Then in January, Criswell was nominated by President Joe Biden to become FEMA’s new leader.

The U.S Senate confirmed Criswell’s appointment on April 22.

Criswell’s uncle, David Dufon, says he couldn’t be more proud of his niece and representing northern Michigan.

“I think about it, and I just think of little Free Soil RFD and a kid that makes it to the big show,” says Dufon. “She’s got a tremendous responsibility now, but she’s weathered, she’s got the credentials, you know she’s going to do some amazing things.”

Criswell is the first woman to lead FEMA since it agency was created in 1979.