The unsung heroes of Grayson County Dispatch

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Published: Apr. 14, 2017 at 8:08 PM CDT
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As National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week draws to an end, New12 is highlighting an award-winning crew right here in Sherman.

Gracie Castaneda has been a dispatcher for the Grayson County Sheriff's Office for the last four years.

"Working for the good guys,” Castaneda said. “Just seemed like the right thing to do."

Every cell phone call to 911 in Grayson County goes through Grayson County 911 Dispatch. Once dispatchers figure out where they are, they figure out who can help them the quickest.

Castaneda told us about a man she was able to help, stranded in the woods in the winter.

"It was very windy and cold and there was water around him and he could not get back to shore so we had to get help out to him,” Castaneda said.

But that wasn't the only emergency going on.

"They also had a structure fire that night and it was high winds and so they were dealing with that and on top of that she had also gotten two other welfare concerns,” Grayson County 911 supervisor Jami Brown said.

That meant coordinating fire response while “pinging,” or locating, three cell phones in three separate areas.

It was that kind of strength under pressure that had Brown nominate Castaneda for the Texoma Council of Governments Telecommunicator of the Year, which she won back in February.

Brown won her own award a month later, Dispatcher of the Year 2016, at the Sherman Elks Lodge #2280’s annual event.

Both tell us they had no idea how much went into a dispatch job before they applied.

"They're behind everything, whether it's fire, police, anything,” Castaneda said. “Any kind of call they are behind it, 24/7."

Knowing they make a big difference in lives of the community and law enforcement, they say, is what keeps them coming back day after day.

"They appreciate the hard work that sometimes goes unseen,” Brown said.

Also recognized, dispatchers Andrea Campbell-Grimes, who won a Silent Hero Award, and Elisha Magar, who was nominated for Telecommunicator of the Year, at the Texas Public Safety Conference Awards Banquet earlier this week.