Me and Mrs. Jones . . . .
This Avaya CONNECTED Blog
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Once a year in the US we take a day out to “Give Thanks” to all of our good blessings like family, friends and the roofs over our head. While those are all worthy things, I’d like to raise your awareness and ask that you include an additional group of people that are quite often forgotten, especially when you enjoy peaceful and joyous holiday occasions. One of the reasons that you get to enjoy those occasions is because these folks have done their job, and have done it well. They are at work 365 days a year, seven days a week, in 24 hours a day.
While holidays mean just as much to these folks and their families, as it does to you, they put aside those feelings to go to work to make sure you and your families are safe. If a tragedy does occur, there ready to answer the phone with a simple calming phrase of four words. “911, where’s your emergency?”
I remember my days back in the early 80s of dispatching for Sparta, Franklin and Ogdensburg in Sussex County in northern New Jersey. We worked a standard shift of 12 hours, four days on end three days off, and then three days on with four days off with Wednesday being the “swing day”. Every two weeks we would switch between day shift and night shift, and every six months we would gradually rotate through to the other end of the week. From a technology perspective, the center was simple. 911 did not exist yet in the area, we wrote incidents down by hand in the “blotter”, and the only computer was an IBM 3270 terminal and teletypewriter used for DMV lookups and NCIC teletypes.
While most everyone lived in town, or extremely close by, as long as it was slow people could sneak home for a quick bite with their family knowing that at a moments notice they could be called away by their job. For the dispatcher, it was a bit more difficult. Letting them leave meant the patrol unit needed to come off the road to take their position. But that’s okay; most people recognize that and would do a little extra for us around the holidays.
Each year at Thanksgiving one of the people that I personally remember and including my thanks is Dee Jones. The last time that I saw or talked to Dee was probably 1985, but I do include her once a year in my thanks knowing that she always took the extra effort to make sure whoever was dispatching got a good home-cooked meal, hand-delivered with all the trimmings.
While writing this blog, I took a few minutes and used the magic of the Internet to do a little research. Fortunately, Dee is still with us, and although she had heart surgery last year and is her 80’s, she still remembered me and my days ‘behind the desk’. I took the opportunity to thank her once again, in person on the phone, for all of the times she thought about me and my coworkers. We reminisced about days long ago, and once again because of that, I’ll have a smile on my face the rest of the day, if not longer.
You don’t need to go out your way, but if you do know someone, or have contact with someone that’s working Thanksgiving, or any holiday, making sure you and your family are safe, take a minute out of your day to let them know that they are in your thoughts, and you are thankful for what they do.
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Until next week. . . dial carefully.
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