Feature Story: The voices you hear during your worst days belong to some familiar faces

We Love, Bleckley E-911 (c)Leslie Queen Photos

COCHRAN, GEORGIA: I once was told by a 911 emergency dispatcher in Marshall, Texas that “You never know exactly what your day will hold … one thing stays constant though – we are helpers – we help the officers and deputies return home safely to their families, and we help a lot of people – sometimes through the worst possible day of their life … we may just answer a call for help or a question … there are a lot of long hours … but we just do what we do.”

A lot of times, you may not know those voices you hear when you reach out to the 911 operators. In fact, other than the annual appreciation week – which seems to go by pretty quickly, and sometimes unnoticed, unlike Firefighter Appreciation Day or Back The Blue Week.

Dispatchers are the very first line of communication in the public safety profession … they will always answer and always try to help.

This past week was National Telecommunicator Week, and in Bleckley County, Leslie Queen, Bleckley E-911 Director, made sure her dispatchers got what they deserved – more than just pats on the back. There were special-themed days at the center with tasty food and different fun things, and at the end of the week, there was pizza and gifts.

Leslie’s team consists of Joy Barlow, Michelle Markl, Sandy Arnold, Angel Golden, Jonathan Leatherwood, Jake Holder, Daurie Cumbie, Tisha Henderson, Hayla Coody, Sue Cumbie and Melissa Newell.

“It’s been a busy day celebrating, recognizing and appreciating those voices that calm behind the chaos and pain … 911 dispatchers are a rare breed of multitasking and empathetic voices that sit behind the scenes,” Leslie said. She herself has served for almost two decades in the field – as a dispatcher until recently she became the director.

Leslie said, “I love the emergency personnel that I get to share the passion of helping others with … they are the true heroes on the front lines.”

“They may not know what that looks like, but we feel it, and we may never know the outcome, but we feel it and we wonder … but it’s not just about the callers … it’s about this team and what they do,” she said. “I will have their ‘six’ always.’

Leslie wanted to make sure the following people were thanked for their support this week of the Bleckley County E-911 dispatchers. There were many donations of gifts, food and monetary gifts to help make this week of celebrating possible. She wanted to first thank Bleckley County Sheriff Kris Coody for always supporting the group.

Other businesses and people included: La Cabana Mexican Restaurant, Glory Bee Boutique, Sugarberry’s, Snow’s Asian Grill, MGA Fitness, Fairy Tale Nails, Cochran Fire & Emergency Services, Daylight Donuts of Cochran, LLC, R&R Rentals, V_W Designs, Tomato Shack, Bleckley County Fire Department, Scott’s BBQ, The Junk Drawer Cottage, Little Bit of Sweetness, Deana’s Vinyl Decals and Designs, Davis Propane, Domino’s of Cochran, Dairy Queen Grill & Chill, and and Easy Lube. Individuals included: Bleckley County Tax Commissioner Paige Baggs, Eric and Staci Bisher, Rene Cannon, Katie Hall, Kim Hanna John Markl, Isabel Moreno, Pebbles Pittman, Joy Simpson, Britt Stewart and Erin Witherington.

To Joy, Michelle, Sandy, Angel, Jonathan, Jake, Daurie, Tisha, Hayla, Sue, Melissa and Leslie – thank you doesn’t seem enough. Just know that we don’t just ‘hear you,’ but we ‘see you’ too!

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