The good thing about recognition programs is that they provide an opportunity to shine the spotlight on outstanding people. At the same time, however, there are many deserving individuals who often go unnoticed even though they are just as deserving.
I’ve noticed this with our annual 9-1-1 recognition program, PSAPs Finest, which awards winners each year in four categories: Director, Line Supervisor, Technician, and Telecommunicator of the year. Since its inception in 2006, NICE has recognized 31 stellar individuals. But for every one recognized, there are dozens more who were nominated but did not take home a prize.
Still, these stories are memorable and inspiring, like:
- Jennifer Garcia, who just one hour into her shift, answered a 9-1-1 call for an apartment fire in a senior citizen housing complex. Jennifer was recognized for her valiant actions by both the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the Inglewood Mayor and City Council. In his nomination, Jennifer’s communication manager says she “reaffirms our motto that we are the voice of reason, the voice of comfort, the voice you trust.”
- Or, Cleveland Police Radio Dispatcher Charles McGeever who received an emergency 9-1-1 call from a pizza delivery driver who was robbed and kidnapped at gunpoint. Dispatcher McGeever's tenacity and resourcefulness resulted in the discovery and apprehension of a violent repeat offender wanted for crimes committed on Cleveland's east and west sides.
- Or, Sandy Hill, who began her career as a Communications Officer in 1977 and progressed through the ranks, becoming a training officer in 1999 and subsequently Operations Supervisor of Virginia Beach 9-1-1 in 2001. With 34 years behind her, she has a wealth of knowledge and experience and is always willing to go the extra mile to ensure the division functions as a team.
- Or look at Richard McWright, a 40+ year veteran of Emergency Services, whose passion for serving the public started as a teenager when he worked on an ambulance delivering his first baby at only 14 years old! His career with the Metropolitan Police Department in Nashville, TN, began in 1972 as a telecommunicator. Over the past 40 years he has worked his way up from call taker to dispatcher, trainer, supervisor, manager and currently, Assistant Director.
- Or, Scott Price, Technician/IT Specialist for the Emporia Police Department, who works tirelessly to ensure his center’s equipment is up to date and easy for the communications staff to use. According to the Chief, “Scott is a dedicated professional who makes the rest of us look really, really good.”
Although the light of recognition does not always shine upon them, their desire to serve consistently shines through.
Nominations for the 2013 PSAPs’ Finest Awards are open until June 1, 2013.
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