Just this past week, NICE announced that it had opened nominations for the 2012 PSAPs’ Finest Awards. Sponsored by NICE, the PSAPs' Finest Awards recognize individuals for their contributions to public safety communications. Nominations are accepted in four PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) categories: Director, Line Supervisor, Technician, and Telecommunicator of the year. In the six years the awards program has been in existence, hundreds of nominations have been received and more than two dozen recipients have been recognized.
As administrator of the NICE PSAPs’ Finest Awards program, I can tell you all of our past recipients have been standouts. But the story of Angela Lucas, a Lead Dispatcher for Lake-Sumter EMS (Mount Dora, Florida), and a former PSAPs’ Finest Telecommunicator of the Year, really pulled at my heart strings.
Angela was hired as a Lake-Sumter EMS Call Taker/Dispatcher in 2005 and quickly excelled in all aspects of that position. In 2008, Angela was promoted to Lead Dispatcher and continued to exhibit high professional standards, serving as a role model to others in the Communications Center. In February 2007, Angela agreed to take an additional shift for a co-worker who needed time off. On that day, the area experienced the devastation now known as the Groundhog Day Tornadoes. Angela stepped up to the challenge and played a key role in providing a quick, calm response to the disaster.
But beyond her professional accomplishments, Angela Lucas displayed a compassion that had a broad sphere of influence.
That compassion played itself out in a life-saving situation in 2009. Angela heard, through the work grapevine, that a co-worker – a paramedic who Angela had only met once – needed a kidney transplant. That co-worker, who herself had already donated one of her kidneys to her own brother, was experiencing kidney failure. No one else in the paramedic’s family was a compatible match. When Angela heard about this, she immediately contacted the paramedic. Angela was tested and found to be a match. Ten days after her wedding day, Angela checked into the hospital for transplant surgery.
On October 15, 2009, events came full circle when Angela Lucas received the Lake-Sumter EMS’ True North Award, presented to her by that very same co-worker, in recognition of her selfless dedication to others and her willingness to give the gift of life.
For me, Angela Lucas not only exemplifies the best qualities of a successful Telecommunicator. She exemplifies the best qualities of what it means to be human.