DI’s Joe Coates, county emergency operations director, remembered

Just two weeks before his death, Daniel Island resident Joe Coates stood before the Charleston County Council, shocked and surprised.
After giving a 10-minute presentation on his annual update of the emergency management department he had inherited and led since 2021, the council unexpectedly made a motion and agreed to add an extra item to the county’s agenda.
“With immeasurable gratitude and deep appreciation, I move to name the Charleston County Emergency Management Operations Center, The Joe Coates Operations Center,” councilman Joe Boykin said.
Coates, who would succumb to his battle with cancer just 15 days later, stood up and smiled, and with family, friends, and colleagues surrounding him, he watched as everyone in the room rose from their seats and gave him an uninterrupted 30-second standing ovation.
Coates, a native of Mount Pleasant, a Wando High School graduate, and a resident of Daniel Island, was called to the front of the room as a resolution was read listing his career accolades. 
Among the list: Coates was coordinator for a search and rescue team; a Scoutmaster for a local Boy Scout troop; a director who helped his department earn honors from the Emergency Management Accreditation Program, the only county to receive that type of accreditation in the state. 
With the resolution read, the packed house then again stood and clapped. Another 30-second ovation.
When it was time for the 45-year-old’s turn to speak to the crowd, he, of course, put the spotlight on others.
“What I do want to say is thank you to my team,” Coates said. “Without the team that I have right now, we couldn’t have done what we’ve done in a short period of time since I’ve been the director.”
Council chairman Herb Sass said, “Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the passing of Joe Coates, who was not just an exceptional emergency management director but a good man and a cherished friend.”
His online obituary stated that Coates “was known as a ‘go-to’ for everything. Water is dripping from the light fixture in the kitchen? Call Joe Coates. Need a ride home? Call Joe Coates. He was always there to help.”
County administrator Bill Tuten also praised Coates, saying, “Joe’s legacy will endure through the countless lives he positively impacted, and will be missed by all.”
Coates passed away peacefully, with family at his side.
“While his life’s accomplishments were many,” continued his online tribute, “Joe’s greatest honor and focus was always his family. He built a beautiful life alongside his family on Daniel Island, and he is survived by his wife Jessica and their three children.”
Joe Coates Memorial Fund
In honor of Joe Coates memory, his legacy of care, and compassion, gifts to the Joe Coates Memorial Fund will provide support to the Coates family. Checks or donations can be dropped off or mailed to Beacon Bank:
The Joe Coates Memorial Fund
20 Fairchild St., Suite 103
Daniel Island, SC 29492
Gifts can also be made via Venmo @JoeCoatesMemorialFund Live Like Joe.

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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