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"The Life We Chose," by Angela Clayton, Dispatcher, Anderson Co 911, SC

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

"Ten words were said to me before I took this job. 'You can either let it make you or break you.' Those words were said because I had just lost my guy best friend Thomas to suicide. That put me in such a dark place. At the time of that call I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to be a dispatcher anymore. What if I got a call for someone wanting to commit suicide and I froze and didn’t know what to say. So, I took that advice and just went for it. Because I knew deep down that I could help change how people viewed themselves one person at a time.

See I’ve always tried to make everyone smile and laugh even on my hardest days. If I could make someone smile at least once that day it made mine. I think it always has been a part of me just to try to make someone else’s life easier. Even when I was at my darkest I still tried to be bright for everyone else. When Thomas passed I was working at a nursing home. I still went in everyday because I knew that they needed me. I wanted to be there for my residents and in a way, they were there for me too.

When you lose someone to suicide they take a piece of your heart with you. I thought I would never get that piece back, but in the 7 months I have been I have been able to become whole again. I get to walk a scared mom through CPR on her newborn, talk to a caller that has fallen and is waiting for EMS to get there just so they know that they are not alone. I get to tell a 15-year-old that is struggling with mental illness that her life does matter and the world deserves to see her shine. Tell a mom that has been involved in domestic violence that she did the right thing by reaching out and that help is on the way.

Dispatch is hard, it can be stressful at times but I love this job with a passion. Its has opened my eyes that even if my day was bad someone’s else was worse. I’m proud to be apart of Anderson County 911 and I’m happy to call my co workers my brothers and sisters. Thank you Dispatching for giving me the opportunity to save lives for a community that needs it. Just always remember that your life does matter even if you can’t see it now."


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