Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) - Lexington County’s 911 Communications Division held its quarterly In-Service Training this week and during that training, a number of awards and recognition for employee achievements were presented. Employees who have also been promoted over the last two quarters were congratulated for achieving a higher rank earned through hard work, continuing education, and dedication to their duties. Due to COVID-19, the 1st and 2nd quarter awards were presented together this week.
During this session, the administration recognized four employees that were promoted to the rank of corporal. According to a spokesman for the department, in order to attain the rank of corporal, an employee must be trained and cleared on all disciplines within the Lexington County Communications Center. These three disciplines are law enforcement, fire, and EMS. The four new corporals are: Shelby Hassig, Cheyenne Sims, Julie Quinealty, and Sam Yates. Department leaders said these employees deserved to be recognized in front of their peers for their hard work and dedication to doing their jobs better every day.
Communications also recognized the winners of the Call Taker, Dispatcher, and Part Time Dispatcher of the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2020 Awards. These individuals excelled in their positions, providing excellent customer service to both citizens and all field units.
Sgt. Savannah Sheppard was presented with the Dispatcher of Quarter for both the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2020. Savannah was not able to be at the training in person to receive her award because she is at home bonding with her precious new baby boy.
The Part Time Dispatcher of the Quarter award was also a double award winner having won that honor for both the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2020 consecutively. That was presented to Sean Wargny. Sean is also a full-time fire fighter with the Irmo Fire District. Some might say that Sean has the public’s safety running through his blood.
Vanessa Lewis was recognized as the Call Taker of the 1st quarter, and DeAndra Staley as Call Taker for the 2nd quarter of 2020. Their supervisors said that these ladies not only provide excellent service, but you can always count on seeing a smile on their faces while at work.
While things are often very stressful in the communications center, one particular event often breaks the tension and brings contagious happiness to everyone who’s involved in the call. That event is the birth of a child! Lexington County honors those few lucky individuals who have been involved in these calls with a Certificate of Live Birth and a Stork Pin. Recently, Dispatcher Vicky Cannon became a member of the club. Cannon took a call from a frantic soon to be dad who had called 911 while enroute to a local emergency room. It had become evident that the new baby was in no mood to wait any longer and was ready to make an appearance. Vicky calmly walked him through the delivery process, which ironically took place in the couple’s car just across the street from the hospital!
Finally, leaders took a moment to recognize two members of the Communications Team for their outstanding customer service skills. Cpl. Ashton McNeal and Call Taker Sharell Watkins received the Outstanding Customer Service Awards. Leaders say these two went above and beyond the call of duty during a recent event in Lexington County. Both the staff and administration of the Communications Division were proud to honor their dedication and commitment to their job by presenting them with this award.
Too often, employees like these are secreted away in a Communications Center somewhere for security from threats both human and natural. They are an essential link in the chain that Lexington County residents and visitors rely on to receive the highest level of emergency services available. Without these employees that answer those calls from the public and pass on crucial information to the responders on the street, there would be no ambulances, fire trucks, or law enforcement officers that show up when you or someone you know dials 911. They are that anonymous voice the public or emergency responder hears when the pressure is on.
Lexington County leaders believe it is essential for the morale of these employees that they too be recognized for the important work they do daily. For that reason, Lexington County not only recognizes them but also takes some time to thank them for all they do in front of their peers.