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Story from Megan Hester, Shift Supervisor, Anderson Co 911, SC

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

"Being a dispatcher has made me realize how many problems that people may face in this community. We stay so busy at times that we don’t always get to see or hear the end of the story. I started this profession with no idea what this job would entail. I was not from the area, had just moved from Texas and had no family around; little did I know that these people that I work with would become my family and help me learn more about myself and how I wanted to help others. I lost my mother at a young age and had my work family with me to cope with the loss of my father. I met my husband while working here as well.

The first call that stuck with me in my career was a drowning on Lake Hartwell that took the life of two innocent children. Everyone talks about getting tunnel vision and not being able to hear certain things. The only thing that I can still remember is the screaming of a family member to help their child. We tried to resuscitate one child on the phone, later found out that this was unsuccessful and 2 hours later would locate the second child in 20 ft of water. This call stuck out to me and will always stay with me. I was just signed off on call taking and asked my trainer what would happen in the scenario of a boat flipping, and answered the phone. I did receive a crime stopper award for this call and it was in the paper. I did not want the award but was trying to figure out that this is what my new career would be like. How would I process this every day?

Years later from this career I wanted to do more for the community and decided to mention to my shift as a leader can we sponsor a child for Christmas? We were able to come together as a shift and make this child’s Christmas the best that he could have. We chose Foothills Alliance to go through and were able to get many gifts for him. We also set it up for Law Enforcement, EMS, Fire Department to come up to the dispatch center and let him tour our center and ride in the emergency vehicles. It felt so good to be able to help someone in a time of need and to all come together and help each other. I have realized over the years that this career has a rewarding feeling of helping someone on their worst day. We can’t always help everyone but we go above and beyond to do our job. The term “glorified receptionist” has been one that has been heard before and it’s not an accurate description of what we all do on a day to day basis. We do so much more than just sit in a chair and type on a keyboard. “We are the first trained point of contact in an emergency situation.” We get to tell someone else’s story to a first responder and let them respond to the situation and assist in a way to help them. I have learned from working in this 911 center that #WEARE911 has a whole new meaning to me."

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