Thank a 911 Dispatcher This Week

Lovingston, VA - 911 dispatchers across the country are being recognized for National Telecommunications week.

They answer the call when lives are on the line, when panic and fear seem overwhelming.

And dispatchers in tight-knit communities like Nelson County face another challenge: they recognize almost all the voices on the other line.

It's a typical day, typical calls at the 911 Communications center in Lovingston.

"We've had somebody living in the house that won't pay their rent, a deceased person found by their brother," explained Sheila Wood, a dispatcher.

Dispatchers say of the roughly 13,000 calls they answer every year, the majority involve someone they know.

"I took a call when my grandfather had a stroke and could not leave here," said Jaime Miller, the director of public safety.

Two Thanksgivings ago, Sheila Wood knew a young boy who was killed after being accidentally shot.

And even though they're trained to look for signs the job is taking a toll, dispatchers say, the toughest calls involve children.

"Being a parent and a grandparent especially, you can't imagine what those folks are going through," said Wood.

There have also been some remarkable rescues and unexpected deliveries.

"What happens if you call 911 and nobody's on the phone?" added Wood.

"Dispatchers so rarely hear thank you because they're often unseen," said Miller.

So this week, consider thanking these behind-the-scene heroes.