911 dispatchers recognized at banquet

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SHERMAN, TX-They may not be out where the action is, but when every second counts, lives depend on 911 dispatchers. Thursday, they were recognized for their work.

Dispatchers get hundreds of calls everyday, from medical calls to life and death situations. Thursday night, emergency personnel from the tri-county area gathered to honor these heroes from behind the scenes.

Lisa McNealy has been a Sherman police dispatcher for five years and she gets up to 120 phone calls a day.

"We as 911 dispatchers that we be alert and be ready at all times because we receive multiple calls. You can have 2 to 3 calls going at one time and you never know what's at the other end of the line," she said.

She says even if her job can be stressful, it's rewarding.

"I got in and after that I like it and I loved it so. And we help save lives and I'm a people person so I like it," she said.

Thursday night, dispatchers like McNealy from Grayson, Fannin and Cooke counties were recognized at TCOG's "Texoma Regional 911 Telecommunicator Awards Banquet."

"It's important for us to recognize these call takers. You know, when you call 911, that person who answers the phone plays a vital role in addressing that emergency and often times they're not recognized and they're not praised for the critical role they play in emergency management," said TCOG Executive Director, Dr. Susan Thomas.

Ninety-five emergency officials and personnel attended that event and Thomas said special awards like the "Telecommunicator of the Year Award," "Life Saving Awards" and "Silent Hero" awards have been given out to those who went above and beyond managing a crisis.

"It's important for you to have that calming, confident, professional presence at the other end of the line to help you manage those situations," she said.

"You have to stay calm to keep them calm and it's just a joy to help people and save people's lives," said McNealy.

2012 Award Winners

Telecommunicator of the Year--Cyndi Ritchie (Cooke County Sheriff's Office)
Team Award of Merit--Shelli Bengfort and Denise Jones (Cooke County Sheriff's Office)
Supervisor of the Year--Megan Robinson (Bonham Police Department)
Life Saving Awards
--Shanna Derheim (Cooke County Sheriff's Office)
--Lisa Brummett (Grayson County Sheriff's Office)
--Greg Brummett (Sherman Police Department)
Silent Hero Awards
--Quentin Barnes (Bonham Police Department)
--Crista Rosado (Cooke County Sheriff's Office)
--Linda Boyle (Denison Police Department)
--Chad McKee (Denison Fire Department)
--Lisa Avelar (Fannin County Sheriff's Office)
--Jami Brown (Grayson County Sheriff's Office)
--Andrea Grimes (Sherman Police Department)
--Renee Winkler (Van Alstyne Police Department)

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