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A Dispatcher’s Daughter

Seventeen years ago my mother began the first full time job that I can remember her ever having. Of course she had worked but she was home every night and was able to take off pretty much whenever for as long as I could remember. But this was different.

And to be honest, seven year old me did not like it one bit. She wasn’t home every night, she couldn’t go to church with us every week, she missed family dinners, trips, and countless other occasions that are important to children. She wasn’t there when I was sick and all I wanted was my mother. I could go on and on about why I didn’t like mom’s new job but I will not, because frankly there are a hundred more reasons why I did like mom’s new job.

I grew up going to the communications center. We would take mom lunch or dinner, we would go by so she could see my dresses on Sunday, we would stop in to show her how much of a big girl I was when I lost a tooth or even when I just needed to see my mom. This may seem absurd to some.. “Didn’t she come home every twelve hours?” Sure she did. But when you go from seeing your mother every day to her working twelve hour swing shifts (meaning two weeks of day shift then two weeks of night shift) you really don’t see her that often. Fast forward to when I was a bit older, in middle school, I had learned at an early age the proper etiquette for a communications center, knew that I had to be quiet and sit still. I knew from an early age that my mother was a superhero. Not just to me, but to the thousands of callers she had talked to over the years.

I vividly remember sitting with my mother one day and her plugging in an additional headset, she muted it so that i couldn’t be heard and I heard my first 9-1-1 call. A female had been kidnapped at gun point and her mother had witnessed it. Being the hero my mother, police officers, and even that young lady’s mother were they found her and brought her home safe. And that moment confirmed to me just what an amazing person my mother was. She calmly took all the information and did exactly as she needed to so that that woman could make it home.

Fast forward to today my mother is still my hero, still rocking the mic after all this time. She hasn’t become jaded, she is still empathetic, and is still able to be someone’s rock in the middle of a tragedy. I thank God for the men and woman who stand behind the #ThinGoldLine.

#IAm911

Did you know that there are 5,893 9-1-1 centers in the Untied States? These centers operate twenty-four seven, staffed with men and women who often have to listen to things that are only in most people’s worst nightmares.┬áDay and night; Ever day, night, weekend, holiday, and special occasions these men and women are always only a phone call away.

Often call dispatchers, these men and women are the small group who are able to wear the badge of telecommunciator, their official title. The #IAm911 movement started in attempts to finally have telecommunicators reclassified from clerical staff to protective staff, because they are essentially the first, first responders.

When something bad happens to you do the police just automatically show up? No, you call for them. So why shouldn’t these men and women be viewed as a protective entity as well? Started by Ricardo from Within the Trenches┬áthis movement has been sweeping social media.

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Could you mentally prepare to take calls like that every day? Can your local telecommunicators count on you to stand by them as they fight for their profession to be recognized?

-Danielle