Within The Trenches – The Bonds We Build

When you work somewhere for a long time it eventually feels like a second home. You build friendships, you laugh, you share stories and you bond. Hours and hours are spent with co-workers. So much time is spent with them that they become your second family. Everyone has his or her work family. This post is about mine. If you don’t already know from previous posts, I work as a 9-1-1 supervisor. What that means is that I not only do the duties of a 9-1-1 operator but I also oversee an entire team.

In the seven years that I have worked in dispatch I have bonded with my co-workers. We have become very close. This is also true for the rest of my work family. They include the county deputies, city officers, state troopers, EMS, and Fire. My work family is rather unique as you can tell. We have been through a lot together and some incidents can never be understood unless you speak to someone who is within our family. I know it seems odd to say that. You’re probably thinking, “Why wouldn’t anyone else understand?” Well, let’s look at a call I took in the past.

One of the worst calls I have ever taken dealt with an infant. Now, I have taken many calls involving infants but this one will stay with me for the rest of my life. I can’t go into a lot of detail but I had to give CPR instructions to a frantic mother whose infant was blue and not breathing. It was horrifying to hear her struggle through this. In the end the baby died. My Sgt. came up to ask if I was ok but all I wanted to know was what exactly happened. It may seem weird to know this but as dispatchers we don’t always know the end result or why. We go to the next call as soon as it comes in and the closure is lost.  We ultimately need that closure. I have shared this story with those outside my profession and most people want to bypass it. It’s sometimes hard to talk to others but I suppose it’s like that in any profession. You simply want to speak to someone you work with and one who knows what you’re going through.

When you bond with your work family you are bound to feel for them the way you feel for your immediate family. If one of your own is hurt you will most likely feel their pain. When you lose someone from your work family it can be devastating. About a week ago or so one of our Sgt.’s passed away unexpectedly. It was a shock to our entire county. When something like this happens you quickly realize how strong of a bond you have with your work family. I can’t even begin to explain the emotions of everyone involved but we all came together to be there for his immediate family and to say farewell to our brother.

The funeral was something I have never experienced before. Sure, I have been to many funerals but this one involved law enforcement. I have never heard the sounds of bagpipes being played to honor the fallen and I have never heard an officers “last call”. Now, I don’t feel comfortable going into detail on what the “last call” entails but know that it brought my entire work family, including myself, to tears. It was hard to listen and what made me cry even more was hearing the emotions of everyone else. Just the sight of the officers that have always shown me zero emotion were shedding tears yet trying there hardest to fight them back. Afterward we walked over to where all the officers were standing and we hugged. There were no handshakes; there were only hugs and tears. It was in that moment that I realized how strong my bond was with my work family. See, it doesn’t matter where you work it’s the bonds you build while working there. My work family deals with the lives of others and we do everything we can to help keep the public safe. It may not always be appreciated but we do our jobs and we do it well. Our work families may be different but the point is the same. It’s all about the bonds we build. Thank you to everyone I work with for being the best damn work family anyone could have. Thank you to Sgt. Scott Tatrow for your years of service and the laughter and joy you brought to our work family as well as the public. May god bless your family and may you rest in peace.