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By Ricardo — 5 years ago
The past couple weeks have been pretty crazy. A project that began as a short digital story has come to light through a Kickstarter campaign and those supporting it. The goal of Within the Trenches is to tell the stories of those who answer the call of duty through 9-1-1. The goal also covers public education in order for them to understand what goes on during a call. It will not only shed light on what we do but it will help our calls go a little smoother. As the project continued to grow and more episodes were recorded, I was able to setup some time to speak with the Holland Sentinel and WZZM 13.
When I made contact with Peg McNichol of the Holland Sentinel I had just awaken from a 12 hour shift in dispatch. I was half awake but I didn’t want to miss this opportunity. So I sat up in bed and did my interview. I laughed right before the interview because it definitely wasn’t the way I expected it to go but the whole interview went great! Oh, and if I didn’t mention it already, the interview was over the phone, not in bed. So, a few days later the article hit and that morning I went to the local Family Fare to get a few things for breakfast. Once again I was half awake and as I walked to the closest check-out lane I passed the front desk. I stopped and wondered if the story had been printed that morning. I walked back and there it was. My smile grew and my eyes popped open. I think I squealed like a little girl as I snagged three newspapers. The cashier gave me an odd look and I said, “I’ll take these…I’m on the front page.” The cashier looked at me like I was crazy and then looked down at the newspaper. She gave it a double take and gave me that, “I don’t believe that’s you” look. I laughed, which probably made me look like a creeper, and paid and left.
From there the media spotlight continued and a few days after that, my newly appointed co-host Whitney and I were greeted by Angela Cunningham of WZZM 13. Whitney and I sported our official Within the Trenches t-shirts and although everything went great, I was freaking out! I paced back and forth as I waited for them to get to dispatch and both Whitney and our assistant director kept telling me that everything would be just fine. They were right and you probably can’t tell from the video but I was sweating and nervous. Since then the show has blown up. The media spotlight has been great and it’s only the beginning. Recently I created an event on Facebook for Within the Trenches as an open invitation to all 9-1-1 dispatchers to appear on an episode. We started out with just a few and now we have people from all over the United States and different countries that want to take part in the show. I will provide the link to our fan page, event, and the media coverage. It’s time that the unsung hero’s of emergency services get the spotlight they deserve. Thank you for all you do and I recommend that everyone listen to the show. You will learn a lot and you might even be better prepared if you ever have to call 9-1-1.Post Views: 104
By Ricardo — 7 years ago
You’ve heard the saying, “Home is where the heart is”? Well the picture within this post is my old house in Fennville. Home is where the heart is relates more to home is where the ghosts are. And I say this because I truly believe that there was something going on at my home whether it’s ghosts, ghouls, or gnomes. From what I was told my house was once a funeral home. Between my parents and I we would take turns using the basement as a bedroom. What I didn’t know when I first started staying down there was that a section of the basement was where the funeral home cremated the deceased. Whenever I went down there it felt like someone else was present. While walking down to the main part of the basement there was a crawl space and it always seemed as though someone was watching from within. There was a curtain that covered the opening of the crawl space and whenever I walked by it I was sure something would jump out.
I’m sure everyone in the area had an old Michigan basement and it seemed creepy but mine was really bad. Even after my parents finished the basement and made it look nice, it still had a scary feel to it. One night I remember hearing little kids calling for help through the vents. I heard it several times and I remember running to my moms room so that I could sleep on the floor. It scared the crap out of me. I told my mom about it and she told me that back when they first bought the house they used to hear people screaming from the basement. There were bones that had been found down there after knocking down a wall and a priest was brought in to bless the home. The bones were buried and they never heard anything again but now my siblings and I were hearing things around the house. Along with the kids screaming through the vents, there was a time when a friend of mine and I heard someone or something running upstairs and down into the basement. We had been up late so that we could sleep the entire way to Six Flags and we heard something upstairs. I thought it was my dad up in the living room but he had already gone to bed. The footsteps turned into fast pounding on the floor above us and it sounded like it ran across and into the kitchen. We ran upstairs and stood by the doorway to the kitchen and we heard it coming towards us and we ran. I remember my friend jumping into one bed and I jumped into the other. I threw the blanket over my head and I could hear someone walking around. It felt as though someone was there staring at us and then it was gone.
There were a lot of scary and creepy things that happened at my house in Fennville. There were things that I can’t explain and maybe I don’t want to know but it’s definitely interesting and something I will never forget. Maybe the scariest thing that happened there was when my mom and siblings returned to the house after we had moved out. She had come back to clean out the basement since it had been sold and she says that it still felt like someone was down in the basement. While she was cleaning she heard something. She stood there for a moment and then heard it again. It was a little louder and it whispered, “I knew you would come back.” That was the last time any of us stepped foot in that house.Post Views: 186
By Ricardo — 5 years ago
The idea of this project actually began several years ago. I had just started working at Allegan County Central Dispatch and I noticed a significant difference from my previous dispatch positions. The calls were more frequent and the intensity was heightened. I was taking calls that I would have never imagined being someone on the outside. One day I was messing around on my computer and I made a movie teaser trailer that consisted of a black background and words describing the job of a 9-1-1 dispatcher. I added music and posted it within Yahoo video’s and it was viewed many times. I even received comments saying that they couldn’t wait for summer of 2007 when this came out. Well this was simply an idea at the time and since then the idea has evolved.
I think the reason I kept up with it is because so many people had questions about my job and what I do. The curiosity of the public was so great that I felt the need to keep this idea alive. So, two years ago I created a video for my Digital Storytelling class that featured two of my co-workers. They shared a couple 9-1-1 stories and how they got into dispatching. From there the idea spawned an audio journalism piece as well as another video. The popularity of them and the curiosity of the public has pushed me to this Kickstarter project. People are interested in what we do as 9-1-1 operators and this is a way to let them in on our profession. I’m including the video that started my push and thank you all for pledging. I appreciate it more than you know. Keep sharing folks and we will hit the mark in no time.
Make sure to check out our Kickstarter project page and pledge and share!Post Views: 85