2004 Activations

Due to the age of these activations, we strongly recommend checking with the agency or contact person prior to taking any action.

    On November 15, 2004, Dispatcher LeAnn Castleberry was working a scheduled shift. During the shift, a major vehicle accident was reported and an air ambulance was requested ASAP for a child suffering from severe trauma.  Ten-year-old Abby Castleberry was in the front passenger seat in a vehicle that was being driven by her father, Leo about 7:30 Monday evening.  Their 2-door vehicle was hit broadside by an opposing truck.  It is believed that the front bumper of the truck made contact with Abby's head. The ambulance and first responders were dispatched at 1933 hrs and medics were on scene at 1936 hrs.  Because of the amount of damage the vehicle sustained the medics were unable to get to the patient for treatment and assessment.  The "Jaws of Life" was dispatched to cut the roof off the car.  Medics requested an air ambulance at 1937 hrs; however, due to the heavy fog conditions most helicopters were grounded. Tuolumne General Hospital was monitoring the radio traffic and called to advise that "REACH" would fly in the fog.  REACH was contacted and luckily cleared to fly in the fog. "REACH 2" was enroute to the Columbia Airport with a 20 minute ETA. They were finally able to get Abby out of the vehicle and she was immediately loaded for ground transport to the airport. Abby was airborne to UC Davis Medical Center within minutes.  The watch commander on duty came into dispatch as the incident was being wrapped up and was listening to the dispatchers on duty talking and doing their own mini debriefing about the accident.  The sergeant then pulled one of the LeAnn out of the room. He had the task of telling her the child that had been heard over the radio was her own 10-yr-old daughter Abby.  Abby has suffered severe head trauma, including numerous facial fractures, a broken pelvis, a broken femur, and there are issues with injury to her neck that must be dealt with later. Although Abby is being kept in a drug-induced coma she is responding to her mother's voice... Dispatchers are family, and this is one of our kids.  Thanks for any help you and 911 CARES can provide - - - Lisa Templeton Ohler, Tuolumne County 9-1-1, 28 N. Lower Sunset Dr, Sonora, CA.  95370
    It is with great sadness I write to you today regarding one of our Dispatchers, a former Trainee of mine, Corrine Sorenson.  While in training to be a Dispatcher, Corrine became ill with abdominal issues and had to undergo surgery to correct them.  She used all of her sick time and was still many hours shy.  The department issued a city wide request for employees to donate vacation time to cover her time off. Once she was cleared for work, she returned and started her training again.  Only a short time later, she became ill again with abdominal issues.  This time, it was a massive infection caused by surgical gauze being left inside her during the surgery.  Once again she was out for several weeks and the city employees donated more time.  Last year, she began having severe headaches.  Tests revealed that her spine was not strong enough to hold her brain in place causing it to slip downward pressing on the spinal cord.  This caused fluid to build up on the top of her skull.  Surgery was required to push the brain back up into place and strengthen the base of her spine.  City employees stepped up again and many hours were donated.   Now, she has a cyst in the back of her head pushing her brain into her sinus cavity and right eye socket causing severe headaches and vision problems.  Corrine is now completely out of sick time and has no way to meet her financial responsibilities.  Corrine is a 26-year-old single Mother.  Her child's name is Tori and she just turned 7 years old.  This has been very hard on Corrine and her entire family. Please keep Corrine and Tori  in your prayers.  If anyone is interested in sending a get well card to Corrine, Christine, or Vivian - send them to:  City of Chandler, Police Communications Mail Stop 804, P.O. Box 4008, Chandler, AZ 85244-4008.  Attention:  Roy Stanifer #3872.  If anyone would like to make a financial contribution - please make it out to "Team 905" and put "Corrine Sorenson" in the memo field.  Team 905 is the Officer/employee assistance group w/in our department.  They will then send Corrine a check so that she does not have to worry about getting to the bank and so on.  Thank you for your time and effort!!! Sincerely, Roy Stanifer #3872 , Chandler Police Communications 
    Original Activation:  Linda Henderson has been a dispatcher with LAPD (our titles are Police Service Representative) for about 2 years. Seven months ago she was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer.  She is trying to fight the good fight, but it's really hard.  Thanks much! Carol Schott 

     I regret to have to tell you that Linda Henderson passed away after a 7 month battle with lung cancer.  Linda loved being a dispatcher, and she was very proud to be an LAPD employee.  Please send cards and expressions of sympathy to:  The Family of Linda Henderson, San Rafael Mobile Home Park, 1065 W. Lomita Blvd., #119, Harbor City, CA 90710

    Original Activation:  On Sunday July 18, 2004, one of my newest dispatchers, Deanna Busalak-McKay, had just reported to work for her swing shift when a 9-1-1 call came in from her home. Her 9-year-old son, Colton, said his dad told him to call 9-1-1 and get an ambulance for his brother Taylor (age 7) who had just been hurt really badly by the riding lawnmower. Taylor was critically wounded after falling out of a trailer being towed by the riding lawnmower, the lawnmower rolled back over Taylor before he could get out of the way and cut the left side of his body essentially removing a large chunk of his body, skin, internal organs, his leg and tissue etc.  As we all know, this is the worst possible call a dispatcher could ever take. Not only did Deanna stay on the phone and remain calm, she transferred her son to Sweet Home dispatch so an ambulance could be started, kept her son calm and gave the Sweet Home dispatcher directions to the house. Fortunately, Deanna's close friend is a paramedic in Sweet Home and was on the ambulance sent to Deanna's house so he knew where he was going. At the same time, Deanna and the one other dispatcher on duty this day had an armed robbery in progress to handle at the same time.  At one point in the call, Deanna's husband got on the phone and told her what had happened. I truly don't know, based on what he described to her coupled with his hysteria, how she managed to remain calm but she did. This woman has less than one year of dispatch experience. Long story short, the paramedics picked Taylor up and rushed him to Lebanon Community Hospital where he was subsequently life-flighted to Doernbechers Hospital. Initial reports indicated Taylor would be lucky to survive.  Deanna waited until her relief could show up, then was taken to Lebanon Hospital via patrol car. Taylor basically had the left side of his body sheared off by the riding lawnmower blades. He lost his spleen and suffered a lot of internal damage to his colon, rectum, stomach, leg and his sciatic nerve was destroyed.
      Cathy White - Communications Supervisor - Linn County Sheriff's Office, 1115 Jackson St SE, Albany, OR 97322 

    09/03/04 Update:
     The overwhelming response has been incredible to Deanna and her family.  Taylor is a little trooper, he is doing very well considering what he has been through and he continually surprises his Doctors with what he can do.  Deanna just told me yesterday he got 3 pound weights to start physical therapy with and the therapist said she thought 3 pounds was probably too heavy but sure enough, Taylor proved her wrong!  He is a strong kid with great parents.  I know in my heart this generous outpouring of love and prayers have contributed to Taylor 's progress.  --Cathy White 

    ​11/03/04 Update:
     Taylor is now home!!!!! He surprised us all! He started out zooming around on his crutches, swiftly got rid of the crutches and was just hobbling all over the house on his own, weaving in and out of all us adults. He is such an amazing little boy... so resilient!   Now that Taylor is home, Deanna is working 3 nights a week on Graveyard Shift. We are so glad to have her back with us!!!!! There is still a long ways to go for Taylor and his family... lot's of physical therapy... more surgeries... different rounds of medications. They are such a strong group of people, but I can only imagine how this has impacted their lives.   Thank you, thank you, thank you!   Tonya Cowger - 911 Police/Fire/Medical Dispatcher and Telecommunicator, Linn Co SO 911 Dispatch, Albany , OR

    This past weekend, Lisa Kelley passed away after a 4-year battle with brain cancer. Lisa, 34, was diagnosed with a brain tumor after having a seizure and driving her car into a ditch while on her way to work at the Rock County Communications Center.  Lisa is survived by her husband, Jason (32), a Beloit Police Officer and their son, Kolton (8).   Jason and Kolton are looking for support in each other and close friends. Please keep them close to your heart and pray everything works out for them.  We have started to collect cards, letters, donations and any other forms of support locally and wanted to ask for additional support from our fellow dispatchers and friends.  Any support that you are able to provide will help the Kelley family deal with their loss.   All forms of support may be sent to:   Keith Cleasby,  Rock County Communications Center, 3636 North County Trunk Highway F, Janesville , WI 53545 , Attn:  Kelley Family Support
    Dispatcher Brenda Bodie, 52, was killed when she was struck by two cars as she attempted to retrieve her grandchildren's basketball from the street. The 10 p.m. accident happened not far from her home on the east side of town, police said, and one vehicle failed to stop after the accident. The fleeing driver was later identified and arrested, and police charged him with being under the influence of drugs and hit-and-run. Brenda worked for the Metropolitan Emergency Communications Agency, which fields 9-1-1 calls within the county and dispatches for the police department. Brenda was well liked and had been working for about 3 years. She is the primary parent for her two grandchildren. Her grandson, Brendan is 5 years old and her granddaughter Brenda is 3 years old. Sadly, they witnessed the accident and the aftermath. Please send your cards, letters or notes of condolence directly to the dispatch center:   Indianapolis 9-1-1 Communications, 47 S State Street, Indianapolis , IN 46201 

    We were recently notified of the passing of the brother of Janet Childs, a PSTC Instructor and counselor at the Centre for Living with Dying in Santa Clara, California. Janet has helped thousands with her compassion and support of others in need.  She has a special place in her heart for those of us in Emergency Services, and can be often found  conducting defusings or debriefings in the Silicon Valley area. Please take a moment and send Janet a few brief words of condolence -- she has helped our profession so much; now is the time to help return the favor.  Please send cards of support to:  Janet Childs, c/o The Centre for Living with Dying, 554 Mansion Park Drive, Santa Clara, CA  95054.  Thanks in advance for remembering Janet in your prayers. 

    Karmen Sawh has been a dispatcher for three years. She does a wonderful job and is dedicated to the 911 profession. In January 2004, Karmen was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy and had the first of six chemo treatments in February. After the first chemo treatment, she returned to work with the same sense of humor she had before the diagnosis.  With each chemo treatment Karmen has had to use at least three sick days. Shortly after the last chemo treatment she will undergo reconstructive surgery and will need to be off work for another/four to six.weeks . Karmen is married and has two children. In spite of the health insurance they have, the financial impact will still be extensive. The chemo treatments cost approximately $7,000 each and I'm sure there will he many associated costs that insurance will pay only a portion of.  As predicted three weeks after the first chemo treatment Karmen's hair fell out. To show support several dispatchers shaved their heads They had a head shaving party at Karmen‘s house where her husband made dinner and did the shaving. I'm hoping that there is a way for others to help support Karmen with donations, cards, or notes.  All forms of support may be sent to Karmen Sawh: Metro Communications, 500 N Minnesota Ave, Sioux Falls , SD 57104.  Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and posting it on your web site. Please call with any questions you may have. Deb Berreth, Assistant Director, Metro Communications 
    Mississippi native Thomas Hamill was kidnapped by Iraqi insurgents as he drove a fuel tanker truck as part of a convoy near Baghdad. Hamill works for a Halliburton subsidiary, and until recently was a dairy farmer from Macon. He sold his business when things went bad, and signed on to become a civilian worker in Iraq to help pay family bills. His wife Kellie is a longtime 911 dispatcher for Noxubee County, MS.  911 CARES spoke with Kellie's supervisor today and said the following: “We are honoring the wishes of Kellie and her family by not making statements to the press other than making it clear that we hope and pray for the release of all of the hostages. We also have the families of all of our troops in our heart at this time and look forward to their safe return”.   When we explained we were inquiring for 911 CARES, the Supervisor was kind enough to add that Kellie and her husband are wonderful people and that Kellie is more than a wife and a 9-1-1 dispatcher, she volunteers in the community and is loved by all. Kellie and the entire community is anxiously awaiting news about her husband--and his release. Cards and letters of support can be sent to:  Noxubee E911, Attn: Kellie Hamill, 16129 Highway 45. Macon , MS 39341 
    We have a dispatcher Stacey Craig. Her husband is also a police officer for Columbus Police Department. Saturday while working undercover, he was on a motorcycle and was t-boned by an SUV. He has a broken neck, and other injuries. He was taken off of life support yesterday. From what I am told he does not know anyone coming to see him. He is in Grant ICU, and I am not sure what his condition is. Anyway He works days, and she works nights and they have 5 children. 4 still at home with them and school age. She will be taking some time off work to care for her children and her husband.  Cards and letters can be sent to:  Columbus Police Radio Room, 2nd Floor, 1250 Fairwood Drive, Columbus Ohio 43206, Att Stacey Craig 

    We regret to inform you that Catherine Allen, a former 22-year-old dispatcher for the City of Plano, passed away on February 27, 2004 . Catherine had been employed with Plano for almost a year when she resigned at the end of January due to family and personal circumstances.  Catherine thought she was pregnant again and went to her doctor. Upon doing an ultrasound they found cancer in her lungs.  Her doctor requested an MRI and found the cancer had rapidly spread to her brain. Her doctor wanted chemo and radiation treatments to start immediately.  Although they stated it was a rare case of cancer, it was treatable. On February 27th, Catherine took a turn for the worst. Catherine went into cardiac arrest and was put on life support. Catherine was taken off life support and passed away peacefully in her sleep.   Catherine leaves behind a 3-month-old daughter Skylar and her husband Damien. Catherine was always full of energy and had a contagious laugh, she was never in a bad mood and always had a smile on her face. I remember when Catherine was pregnant with Skylar, she couldn't wait to see what her daughter was going to look like.  Catherine's sister is also a dispatcher for the Rowlett Police Department. Her brother in-law is a police officer for the Richardson Police Department. Submitted by Kimberly Novelli – Plano , Texas DPS Communications 

    Tiffany Faith Jenkins had been employed with our bureau for seven years. Although young when she started, Tiffany was an excellent operator and a real asset to our department. Tiffany was always calm and professional and took pride in her profession. Just the mention of Tiffany's name would always make you smile. She had a quick wit and joke to lighten any day. Her kind heart, her thoughtfulness and always finding ways our Bureau could help the needy, will be truly missed.  Tiffany was 30 years old when she passed away suddenly last month from complications after surgery. Tiffany leaves behind a husband and a 4 year old son, Oliver Jenkins.  Although devastated by our loss, our Bureau is putting all of our efforts into raising money for a trust fund for college for Tiffany's son Oliver.  When he is older we want him to know just how close the 911 Communications family is and how we will always be there for him.  If you can assist us to help raise donations we would be very grateful.  Donations can be made directly to :  Oliver Jenkins Trust Fund, Cobb County 911 Communications, c/o Kathy Gordon, 140 N. Marietta Pkwy, Marietta , GA 30060