Annual awards presented to 9-1-1 Center staffers

Find out who was named the ‘Telecommunicator of the Year Award’ – and why – as other major awards for Bureau of Emergency Communications workers …

Here, in the City Bible Church Chapel on Rocky Butte in outer East Portland, the Bureau of Emergency Communications held their annual “Telecommunicator Awards”.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

In a new format, and at a new location, the City of Portland Bureau of Emergency Communications (BOEC) held its annual awards ceremony on April 16, this year in the Chapel of the City Bible Church.

Additionally, the BOEC volunteers who put on the event bowed to the pressures of the increasing costs of a dinner banquet, and chose to present a simple-yet-elegant awards presentation and reception during “National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week”.

The 2018 BOEC awards ceremony gets underway.

Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R)’s BOEC liaison, Lt. Tommy Schroeder, was selected to be the event’s master of ceremonies.

“Dispatchers do heroic work,” Schroeder told East Portland News before the ceremony began. “And, dispatchers don’t get the ‘closure’ that we firefighters or police officers get; they go on to their next call after we arrive.”

Having been with PF&R for 13 years, Schroeder said that, now that his office is next to the dispatch floor, he’s grown to have even greater respect for the work of dispatchers. “I get to work with these really incredible people day in, and day out.”

Program MC PF&R Lt. Tommy Schroeder quips, “They requested Jimmy Kimmel, and after much consideration, you’re stuck with me.

Good dispatching is vitally important to both the person calling in, and to emergency first responders,” Schroeder pointed out. “Having concise communication, having information relayed from callers and other agencies – we rely on their skill and professionalism.”

About the award selection: BOEC staff members nominate coworkers for the various awards, and then vote to choose the award recipients.

Telecommunicator of the Year

2018 BOEC Dispatcher Erica Gregg is honored as their “Telecommunicator of the Year”.

“It’s quite an honor to be selected as the ‘Telecommunicator of the Year’, especially since it’s voted by my peers; for them to think about me as being a good representation of our Bureau’s goals and objectives is quite an honor,” remarked Dispatcher Erica Gregg.

Gregg said she started her career as a Wildland Fire Dispatcher for the US Forest Service before coming to BOEC.

“While I encourage people to look into what we do as a career, it’s not for everyone,” Gregg acknowledged. “If you want to help others – but being a police officer, firefighter, or paramedic isn’t right for you – by becoming an emergency telecommunicator, you help by being the front-line ‘emergency first responder’, helping people on what is sometimes the most difficult day of their life.”

Supervisor of the Year

Here’s the 2018 BOEC “Supervisor of the Year” – Chelsea LaBar Wynter, a Dispatch Supervisor.

“Being named ‘Supervisor of the Year’ feels really good; it’s being acknowledged for the work that I do,” smiled this year’s awardee, Chelsea LaBar Wynter, who has been with the Bureau for 10 years. “And, this inspires me to keep doing a good job, to help other people, and to really help the people that I supervise.”

Coach of the Year

The 2018 BOEC “Coach of the Year”, Darren Wegener, proudly stands with his trophy.

Beyond basic training, all BOEC telecommunicators rely on “coaches” to help them become professional call-takers and dispatchers.

“We have many coaches in the Bureau, so for me to be selected as ‘Coach of the Year’ is a true honor,” said this year’s awardee, Darren Wegener.

“When I was in training, my coaches spent a lot of time with me,” Wegener recalled. “We were working together 40 hours a week – and the patience that coaches have, and the dedication that they exhibit, transferring their incredible knowledge base, is very meaningful. Now, that is exactly what I try to emulate with my own trainings.”

Here, commending workers for all they do, is BOEC Director Bob Cozzie.

During the ceremony, BOEC Director Bob Cozzie began by telling the some 100 people attending, “What a privilege we all have working together, making a positive impact on our community, and on each other.

“Tonight, we are here to celebrate significant achievements of some truly talented and dedicated professionals,” Cozzie reflected. “The BOEC is a team that balances care and compassion every day; we are who truly do make a difference, who persevere and don’t quit.”

Also awarded was BOEC “Outstanding Team Member” Senior Administrative Specialist Angela Tran; and the “Champ Award” went to Kate Williams.

Additional staff members were honored in the following categories:

  • 53 Critical Incident Awards
  • 7 Stork Awards
  • 8 Lifesaver Awards

For more information about BOEC, see their official webpage: CLICK HERE.

© 2018 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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