Dispatchers honored for answering the call

Blount County Emergency 911 communications staff were honored April 16 during a luncheon at the facility on Louisville Road.

The event was part of National Public Safety Telecommunicator’s Week.

Richee Kidd was honored as Telecommunicator of the Year. E911 Communications director Jeff Caylor said Kidd constantly tries to improve operations at the facility, shares ideas and volunteers her time to implement them. “This person is always willing to help out,” he said of Kidd.

Kidd was humbled by the honor. “I’m very much surprised,” she said.

Kidd said her attitude is to try to make things better in the community better. That philosophy “shapes the ideas I come up with,” she said.

Dispatcher Amy Blair was honored with the Lifesaving Award for helping calm a man who had called 911 dispatchers on Jan. 28 after fire broke out in his Old Niles Ferry Road home. Blair was credited with keeping the man calm as firefighters responded to the blaze. She helped the man alert firefighters to his location inside the home once fire personnel were on the scene, 911 Emergency Communications director Jeff Caylor said.

The outstanding attendance award was for people with perfect attendance in a calendar year. “When you run a 24-hour-a-day operation, you have people who ring the bell everyday,” he said.

Matt Graves was honored for perfect attendance, as was Sherry Tipton.

Service awards are given out in five-year increments. Receiving recognition for five years of service were Eric Lawson, Marie Strain, Matt Graves, David Nelson and Scott Gregory. Receiving recognition for 15 years of service was Richee Kidd and Susan Porter and receiving recognition for 25 years of service was Donna Overstreet.

Sheriff James Berrong thanked the dispatchers for their efforts. “I say thank you. Lots of times you are not recognized for the professionalism you show. It’s very important what you do,” he said. “We thank each and every one of you.”

Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp recognized the good work of the dispatchers. “We appreciate your hard work,” he said.

Alcoa Fire Department Chief Roger Robinson thanked them for their professionalism. “You all are the best,” he said.

Maryville Deputy Fire Chief David Hodge praised the dispatchers for their work and training. “You all are on the cutting edge,” he said. “We appreciate every one of you.”

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