2005 Activations

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

    07/12/05 Original Activation:
     One of our SHASCOM dispatchers, Rachael Cassidy, has a little boy with bone cancer.  Her 17 month old son, Tristan, has been diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a treatable cancer.  He is undergoing a course of treatment in Davis, CA.  The treatment is expected to take about a year.  Rachael has to bring Tristan down to Davis, a two hour drive, every three weeks for treatments. They have to stay 3-5 days each time.  The SHASCOM dispatchers have purchased a cell phone and portable DVD player for Rachael and Tristan.  We have also set up a bank account for them, with automatic donations coming out of our paychecks.  One of our boating safety deputies just brought a huge personal check in, because he has grandchildren.  Rachael and her family and friends would appreciate prayers, positive thoughts and any cash donations to go towards the travel and medical costs. Rachael is a wonderful dispatcher and has always displayed the most incredible compassion for everyone.  It is now Rachael's turn to receive some of the kindness she has always shown to everyone.  If you'd like to see a great picture of this cute little kid, he is one featured in our gallery on the home page. 

    10/29/05 Update:  Tristan is back home from surgery. He did just awesome. He had the cancer removed and a bone graft. This hopefully makes him cancer free, per his mom. He is in a gigantic cast, and pretty much immobile, but that doesn't keep him from trying to move around. What a brave little guy he is. --Joy Willis, SHASCOM

    12/28/05 Update:  
    Tristan is on the final stretch of his chemotherapy treatments. Only 4 or 5 left, so he should be finished March/April '06. His surgery has continued to be successful; the cast has been downgraded from a full "spica" cast (hips all the way down the legs with a bar between them) to just his right leg and up around his waist to stabilize it. His orthopedic surgeon recently viewed x-rays which show bone growth on the area that was grafted with cadaver bone!! This is most excellent news since chemotherapy slows all types of growth and healing.  Tristan is quite the trooper; he gets around with hardly any trouble at all. He crawls all over the floor. Nothing holds this little boy down!!   Thanks to everyone for their continued love and support!!  Sincerely,  Rachael Cassidy, Tristan's mom 
    On this date, one of our 9-1-1 Dispatchers was fatally injured in a car crash in Jackson County just outside of Eaton County.  Stacy Sprouse had joined Eaton County Central Dispatch in April and was sailing through her probationary period with high marks. She had previously been a dispatcher at Albion Police Department and came to us with high honors and accolades.  Stacy was more than a 9-1-1 dispatcher; she was an inspiration. She was praised by her co-workers as someone who “pulled the fun out of you”. No matter what mood you were in before you were in her presence, she made sure you were in a better one. She held everyone up and made them feel happy. She always smiled; she played games and enjoyed life immensely. There were only a few things Stacy feared (something about gnomes?) but she did not fear living life to its fullest. This was evident to everyone around her. She touched so many lives, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, her family, friends, and community. But she impacted the lives of her fellow 9-1-1 dispatchers unlike anyone before her. She glowed, she joked, and she reasoned with the best of them. She made a tough job seem not so tough.  I still wonder how such a delightful dispatcher such as Stacy could fill the dispatch kitchen with so much smoke that the Fire Department was called.  There will be tough times ahead for all of us at Eaton County Central Dispatch as we mourn one of our own. This holiday season we will work through our pain and sadness as we miss Stacy’s laugh and her smile. Someone else must have needed her sunshine more than us. We will miss her, and true to form, as a 9-1-1 center, we will be here for her family, each other, and her. Because Stacy held us to that higher standard.
    PSC III Jon Ronan has worked in our Communications Center for many years. He is an outstanding Police Dispatcher, Fire Dispatcher, Trainer, and the go to guy for your computer needs. His face is seen in our communications center daily either working his shift or working overtime to help our short staffed, overworked Center.   Jon and his wife Enid were excitedly expecting their first child in June, Sadly after giving birth to a beautiful precious girl Alyssa, Enid fell into a coma. She has been placed into a nursing home. Jon is and has been a devoted loving father, spending every moment possible with his daughter and ensuring she is well cared for in his absence. His mother has put her life on hold to assist Jon with babysitting. Jon has never slacked in his devotion to Enid. He spends his time away from Alyssa either working, with his daughter, or at the nursing home or hospital, (wherever Enid may be). He is called away in the middle of the night due to the ups and downs of Enid 's health issues. Jon has so many things to contend with right now. I truly do not know how he is functioning. He has had to return to work because unfortunately the bills must be paid.  Jon and Enid's relationship was very much a partnership, Enid was supposed to be the parent to take Alyssa to day care since Jon works a twelve and half hour shift and maybe called-in during emergencies, Enid made it possible for Jon to work the overtime they needed to provide Alyssa with a comfortable life and nice home to be raised in, Enid's income is no longer a resource. As you can see Jon has many challenges that lie ahead of him. Jon continues to have a positive outlook and is trying his very best to keep his daughter and his wife's physical, emotional, and financial needs taken care of.  Jon's most significant need at the moment is financial. As I am sure you can understand he has many, many bills between doctors, lawyers, and monthly living expenses. Over the past two months his co-workers have made donations to help him but his needs are great.  Any assistance you may be able to provide would be appreciated by not only Jon and his family, but our entire department. Jon is a valued member of our Communications Department, Police and Fire Department. Many people care for Jon and his family and have and will continue to help them as much as possible.  Donations should be mailed to (MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO THE ALYSSA RONAN FUND), PSCIII Jon Ronan, Fairfax County Department of Public Safety Communications, 3911 Woodburn Rd, Annandale, Va 22003.  Questions and well-wishes can be e-mailed to Michelle.Duckett
    10/16/05 Original Activation:  
    Yesterday morning, 10/14/2005 in the early morning hours, a San Antonio Police Officer was killed in the line of duty.  Unfortunately, that is what we do for a living and if it were that simple I would not even be writing this letter.  My husband is a San Antonio Officer as well, so now this is making more sense to you, but the Officer that was killed was John Wheeler, who's wife also happens to be a dispatcher for San Antonio .  This story has a very tragic history.  In 2003, Kim Wheeler was working her console and she received the distress call when her husband John was shot twice in the neck while responding to a robbery.  He fought his way back and was returned to full duty just this past January.  Well as you might have guessed, Kim was on duty yesterday morning and received the distress call when John was killed.  He was working traffic detail and was hit by a suspected drunk driver at estimated speeds of 90-100mph.  He was trapped in his patrol car that was a raging inferno.  I am not asking for anything other than maybe getting the message out to dispatchers everywhere about this incident and maybe suggesting that people make a donation if they can, to the memorial fund that has been established.  She is a true inspiration to other dispatchers of what it means to be a true professional no matter what the circumstances.  Chief Albert Ortiz paid her a wonderful public compliment even in the face of adversity during his press conference.  San Antonio has a strong union and I know she will be taken care of as "An Officer's Wife" but I think she should be recognized also as a Phenomenal Dispatcher.  The mailing address is: SAPD Dispatch, 214 W.Nueva, San Antonio , TX 78207.  The memorial fund information is:  Officer Wheeler Memorial Fund, San Antonio City Employees Federal Credit Union, Account# 688810, P.O. Box 830968, San Antonio , TX 78283-0968.  Thanks for anything you can do.  Kathleen W. Wyatt 

    11/17/05 Update:  San Antonio Express-News -printed with permission- 
    Ken Rodriguez: Police officer's widow: A voice in shadow, a hero in the night
    The emergency signal from a patrol car sounded in the dead of night.  From her radio console in the San Antonio Police Department's dispatch office, Kimberly Wheeler looked up. On the computer screen before her, Badge No. 1093 began blinking.  The number belonged to her husband, John.  Kimberly radioed John for information. He did not answer. She called a second time. Silence. Kimberly did not know that John's patrol car had been hit by a drunken driver. Or that John's vehicle was in flames. What she did know was that her husband was in trouble, and she had to make sure no one else got hurt.  Over the next 10 minutes, Kimberly dispatched officers to secure the scene. She sent others to block off the road at Culebra and Loop 410.  At the behest of a patrolman, she called for fire rescue. At the request of a sergeant, she radioed for a lieutenant.  Because her job demanded it, Kimberly alerted traffic investigators and monitored the activities of 25 other officers under her watch.  How did she do it?  How did she manage to follow dispatch protocol with a husband who would not answer her call?  Four weeks after John's death, Kimberly offers this: "You don't have time for emotion. You don't have time to think about and concentrate on what's really going on.  "You have to send officers to block off the highway. And you have officers telling you what to do. I've got one screaming at me to get this. I've got another screaming at me to get that. You've got a whole list of people to get to make the accident scene secure."  Police dispatchers do not make headlines. They do not get shot and stabbed on the job. They do not get hailed and feted for bravery. They do save lives, but almost nobody notices.  John Wheeler noticed. In 2003, he responded to a robbery. A man carrying an AK-47 assault rifle responded with 21 rounds to John's patrol car.  As John lay bleeding, Kimberly went to work on the radio. She called him twice. He did not answer.  Then she began directing police traffic. "I had a nut with an AK-47, and we didn't know where he was," Kimberly recalls. "At the same time, I had officers responding to the scene who were in immediate danger, and I had to protect them. I refused to get off the radio until I knew that crime scene was secure. That's what I do." What Kimberly does remains in shadow. But John always tried bringing it to light. Acclaimed as a hero after recovering from bullet wounds to the neck and leg, John felt the honor was misdirected. He often said, "All I did was lay there. Kimberly did all the work."  Kimberly, 37, has not been back to work since John died. There are personal belongings to sort, pension boards to visit, papers to file. "I've got so much going on," she says, "I haven't had time to grieve." She is a strong woman, Kimberly is. Strong enough to cover the backs of other officers while her husband lay wounded in the neck and leg. Strong enough to secure an accident site while her husband lay in a burning car. Police Chief Albert Ortiz once told me he doesn't know how she does it. I don't either. No one this side of heaven knows how many lives Kimberly has saved. John might know. If only we could ask. If only he could speak. When I last spoke with John, he expressed great pride in the way Kimberly did her job when he was shot. "If it happened again," she said then, "I hope I would act the same way." The call for John's shooting came at 1:52 a.m. Two years and two weeks later, he was pronounced dead at 1:52 a.m. Behind the tragic symmetry is a voice of calm on the police radio. The voice of a hero named Kimberly.   Postscript: Kimberly Wheeler wants to thank everyone who gave to a memorial fund for John. "So many people contributed, but I don't have the names of everyone who gave," she says. "I want to assure them that something will be set up in his name with that money."

    The Florida Highway Patrol is trying to locate anyone who may have been traveling eastbound on Interstate 10 in the area of the 152 mile marker near the community of Sneeds, Grand Ridge and Marianna in Jackson County, Florida, around 8:00 p.m. on October 18, 2005. Troopers are looking for witnesses to a commercial truck carrying lumber which lost part of its load along several miles of Interstate 10. Duty Officer Amber Pitman, employed by the Florida Highway Patrol's Tallahassee Regional Communications Center, was a passenger in a vehicle about a minute or so behind the truck. A 4x4 or landscape-type timber from that truck fell into the direct path of her vehicle. Duty Officer Pitman, off duty in her private vehicle, was en route to her home when she encountered the timber in the roadway. Her husband, Mark, was driving and swerved in an attempt to avoid the large timber. He subsequently lost control of the vehicle, it overturned and entrapped Duty Officer Pitman. During this crash her spine was crushed and she sustained injuries that have left her paralyzed from the chest down. Duty Officer Pitman was airlifted to Flowers Hospital in Dothan Alabama. After being stabilized she was transferred to Shepherd Spine Care Center in Atlanta. She underwent additional surgery on October 23rd.  As the truck has not been located, and Amber has only been employed by the Florida Highway Patrol for nine months, she has less than two weeks of available sick leave, so expenses are now a major concern. Members of the Patrol are donating their personal sick leave to Amber, but additional help is needed. Amber will be in the Shepard Spine Care Center for a minimum of three months. Her husband Mark, and her Mother Donna, are trying to stay in Atlanta with her. In an attempt to defray travel and lodging costs, and acquire another vehicle that will be eventually handicapped equipped, concerned members of the public have been calling to provide financial assistance to Duty Officer Pitman. There are numerous expenses for her anticipated long term care, refurbishment of her residence to accommodate a paralytic, equipping a specialty handicap vehicle, and day to day living expenses. Her auto insurance coverage will be exhausted, and since troopers have no suspect vehicle, no claims can be made against the suspect who caused this traffic crash. Duty Officer Pitman dispatched troopers every day to help people involved in crashes and now finds herself a victim. Amber is almost 24 years of age, just married several months ago, and is now facing this life changing experience. Her co-workers are asking anyone who wants to help financially in any manner, to send their financial gift to: DUTY OFFICER PITMAN TRUST c/o Wachovia Bank, 2901 N. Monroe Street, Tallahassee, FL. 32303, Attention: Joshua Desha- Wachovia Trust Dept. Please pass this on to everyone you know in the North Florida/Georgia area.  Lee Sacco, Assistant Supervisor Communications, Reedy Creek Emergency Services 
    On the midnight shift of Oct 22, 2005, 911 dispatcher Cyndi Meier was on duty alone, when she received a report of a vehicle rollover with 6 victims involved.  Cyndi dispatched EMS , Fire and Rescue, and Law Enforcement to the scene. While units were responding, Cyndi was obtaining more information and consoling the caller who kept apologizing to her. As Cyndi calmed the caller, he advised her that one of the victims was her 19 year old son Ashton.  Cyndi stayed at her post, and continued to dispatch until she could be relieved by supervisor Don Jagger.  Ashton was flown from the scene by Life-Net helicopter to Heartland Regional Hospital in St. Joseph, Missouri where he later died from his injuries.  Cards, prayers and letters of condolence for the center or for Cyndi may be sent to:   Atchison Co 911, P.O. Box 280, Rock Port , Mo. 64482.  I know that Cyndi needs a lot of support now. Anything that can be done would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you, Michael L. Kindle, President - Missouri Chapter, National Emergency Number Association 
    Mary Devlin, a 911 Telecommunicator of the West Haven 911 Dispatch Center for the past 34 years and who has been Chief Communicator since 1986, has recently taken ill.  Mary, a 10 year cancer survivor, went in for a surgery last year to correct a complication from her previous treatments. During that time, she contracted an infection that was being masked by her antibiotics. Doctors began treating her for the pain that she was having but it took months to surface that she had an intestinal infection that spread into her leg. After emergency surgery at Yale New Haven Hospital in August, she was sent to Hartford Hospital where she will be having many more surgeries and treatment. It seems she will have a long road to complete her recovery. 
    You need to know that we have spoken to numerous PSAPS and in most cases, it is worse than what network television is covering. Most news coverage focuses on New Orleans and Biloxi but there are remote areas that have literally been wiped from the earth. Many dispatch centers have had no relief. Mutual aid is there from Police and Fire but dispatch aid is slow due to a number of clogs in the request procedures. Texas and NC TERT (Telecommunicator Emergency Response Teams) are willing  to respond. If you are thinking of going down on your own, please consider the potential risks and DO NOT respond unless you have prior approval from a PSAP you are responding to. Below is an updated version of an e-mail we sent out earlier. We have updated it as of 9-3-05 to reflect the immediate needs . 

    As you know 911 CARES provides emotional and appreciation support for 9-1-1 professionals. We're sure that some of our fellow dispatchers have lost their homes, belongings and god forbid, family members. Please get the ball rolling and start a local collection of funds and items. All of the items you donate and collect will go directly to impacted dispatch centers and public safety agencies. From the experiences of last year in Florida , we know that many dispatch families have lost many or all of their belongings.  We will send funds as we get them. This will allow dispatchers to buy essentials that are impractical to mail.   New or gently used clothing and shoes will be welcome. Don't forget baby clothing, kids clothing and accessories like hats, socks, etc. Blankets for the night will be helpful and appreciated. 911 CARES will be sending a large batch of t-shirts from our 911 CARES product line. Remember, most people have no running water so there is no ability to clean or launder clothing. How about sending a few of your agency baseball hats or t-shirts? Remember, these items are going to “our family” of dispatchers and responders. The shelters are overwhelmed and kids are getting anxious as you can imagine. Some dispatch centers have allowed staff to bring their families into the various 9-1-1 centers and you can understand how the kids want to play. There are also centers operating on generator power and they do have VCR's and DVD's. Send what you can. We just got an updated request. There is a great shortage of diapers! Stuffed animals are being requested also. They bring great support to any child!  For the most part, the Red Cross and other charities are handling essentials. Powdered milk, treats and snacks may be better than sending heavy items like water and other staples. We'll leave most food items to the pros like he Red Cross and Americares.  Additional Needs – Mosquito repellant. Due to all the standing water, this is a HUGE necessity! Items like purell, handi-wipes, Sun Screen, band aides, minor medical supplies, cold packs, flash lights, batteries and camping lanterns. Do not send flammable items! Just watch TV and imagine what you would want to receive and you won't go wrong!   Emotional support – get your kids busy writing letters, drawing pictures and other artwork. In the aftermath of September 11th, some of the most appreciated items were the kids efforts. PLEASE pass this e-mail on to your kids teachers or churches, let's start a big effort to help! Emotional appreciation is essential right now! 

    WHERE TO SEND THINGS:   For now, we will facilitate your donations at 911 CARES. Once mail and UPS are more stable, we will provide a list of specific centers but right now due to communications failures, it's too soon for that. Please send items to:  PSTC 911 CARES – Katrina Relief, 230 Twin Dolphin Drive #C. Redwood City , CA 94065.  By sending items to us, it allows us to distribute items based on need. We will post agency addresses later but by having us distribute items, it ensures nobody gets left out. PLEASE make sure you include a card or note in your donation so that we have something to give the agency. Include your agency name, address, phone # or e-mail in case they want to contact you or thank you later. We promise that EVERY gift, card, donation or item of support will be distributed. 911 CARES turns 100% of the donation you make to the area of need. We do not take ANY administrative costs from your donation!   Call PSTC – 911 CARES if you know of specific dispatch centers in need or of ideas we haven't included. We are getting e-mails and calls from many agencies. Thanks in advance for your support. Your support of your brothers and sisters of the 9-1-1 family is inspiring!  Kevin Willett and the 911 CARES family! 

    Billy Jo Noll-Brink is a fellow dispatcher with me at Western Will County Communication (WESCOM) in Plainfield Illinois . She came to work with us in July of 2004 with one of the best attitudes that anyone could possibly have. Shortly after starting with us, she found out that her ovarian cancer had came back. She has been battling for 9 years and thought she was out of the woods when it struck again. Even though she started her chemo and was having side effects from the chemo, she came to work everyday with the biggest smile on her face.  She had a very tough battle with chemo and a nasty infection landed her in the hospital for a few weeks and at that time she made a difficult decision to stop taking the chemo. She is only 29 years old.  She comes into WESCOM with the most positive attitude and only cares about helping other people. She has made it through the training and just this week she went on her own. She is AWESOME and we love her. We are asking that anyone that can help her emotionally or financially to do so. Please help me let the world know about our wonderful friend.  Sincerely; Marva Bradfield & Lena Harston - Fire Dispathers -WESCOM 
    One of our Supervisors, Tori Rosa's husband passed away suddenly on January 17, 2005 of a rare heart condition. He was a 13 year veteran of the Norristown Borough Police Department. He was not on duty at the time. In addition to Tori he is survived by 3 children, Michael 15, Tommy 8, and Gina 10 months. A trust fund has been set up for the children.  Donations may be sent to:   Rosa Children Family Trust Fund, c/o Commerce Bank. 2623 West Ridge Pike. Trooper, PA 19403.  Tori has been with us for 12 years, has worked her way up thru the ranks from Telelcommunicator to CTO to Supervisor. She was awarded our Dispatcher of the Year award a few years ago, and is generally loved by all of us.  Marvin Watkins, Assistant Director - Training / T.A.C. Officer