By Beth Christian Broschart
The Parsons Advocate
PARSONS – When dialing 911 during an emergency, folks expect the person answering the call will be calm, knowledgeable and help them get what they need. The Tucker County 911 Center is open every day, all day, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – weekends, holidays or during bad weather. The week of April 10 to 16 is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, a time to honor the thousands of men and women, behind the scenes, who respond to emergency call, dispatch emergency personnel and render life-saving assistance to residents.
Tucker County E911 Director Darla Stemple said the Tucker County 911 Center celebrated with dressing in a jersey, camo, as a hippie, as someone from the 1980s and for beach day. She said the Tucker County 911 telecommunicators are a dedicated group of employees.
“When something is going on in the county, they are all rushing here rather than rushing home,” Stemple said. “They will come here. When Winter Storm Jonas was predicted, we had dispatchers move closer to town. They knew if it hit and they were home, they could not get here. They assured they would be close enough to get into work.”
Stemple said two weeks ago, the center had 120 hours one week and 87 the next week that needed covered.
“We had some folks with health issues and family emergencies,” Stemple said. “The staff did not complain. They are willing to step in and help another worker and cancel their own plans because somebody has to be here at the Center.”
Stemple said the telecommunicators are just like family.
“When something happens, they help one another,” Stemple said. “These guys are really a great bunch of employees.
Tucker County 911 staff members include Darla Stemple, 27 years; David Carr, 19 years; Patrick Gray, 10 years; Judy Long, 10 years; Joe Meloy, 6 years; Debbie Stemple, 5 years; Janet Canon, 4 years; Jennifer Rosier, 3 years; and Beverly Cantrell, 2 years. Part time employees include Angie Tompkins, Jordan Hayes, Brett Ware and Henry McDonald.
Tucker County Commission President Lowell Moore said he wanted to express his sincere thanks for the great job the Tucker County Telecommunicators do.
“The 911 Center is the heart line of all our emergency communications,” Moore said. “They are the ones that call out law enforcement, EMS and the fire departments. They are the heart of that and they keep everyone safe.”
Diane Hinkle, Tucker County Commissioner said the week offers a good opportunity for all to thank the 911 operators.
“The job they do is often taken for granted but in reality we all know it can mean the difference between life and death,” Hinkle said. “The 911 operators provide a critical service to the community and they do it well. Our citizens, our firemen, EMS, wrecker service providers and law enforcement personnel all depend on 911. I appreciate the dedicated service they provide 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.”
Tucker County Commissioner Patrick Darlington said he appreciates the work and time the 911 operators put into performing their work.
“The Tucker County 911 Center is a 365 day operation and it is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” Darlington said. “Holidays need to be covered and these workers sacrifice a lot to complete their work. We appreciate the hard work and effort the operators put forth. It is a really nice 911 center and the employees are very dedicated to helping others.”