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By Ricardo — 7 years ago
Bro, today is a great day. It’s your birthday once again and I couldn’t be happier. For a long time I was the only one and when you were born I couldn’t help but jump off the walls. You were born pre-mature so you had to stay in the hospital a little longer but I got to see you as much as possible. I remember the first time I went to see you I thought you were so small. I wanted to hold you but you had to stay in your chamber a bit longer before anyone could hold you. I was very happy to see you and afterward I was given a stuffed Kermit The Frog that had a red argyle vest on. I was told that it was from you and that you were happy to have me as a big brother. I believe I have a picture of me somewhere holding onto it.
That was the beginning of our brotherhood and I’ll never forget it. We’ve had some great times and though we fought at times, we still managed to be great bro’s. We experienced a lot of things together and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. For example, our trip to Maryland, when we dropped Becky off at her sisters to visit. Do you remember what happened on our way back? I’m sure you do but for those reading this, we passed through a city named Cumberland and a song by Coldplay began to play on the radio. The setting was perfect. As Speed of Sound played over the radio it seemed as though we became one with our surroundings. Cumberland seemed like the city in the sky and we both shared a moment of silence. When the song ended we exhaled, turned and looked at each other and we nodded our heads in agreement. We didn’t say anything about it though; we knew we experienced the same thing.
We’ve been through a lot together bro. You and I have been there for each other through almost everything. I was there when you needed someone to teach you to dance, which we have a picture or two of that mess, and you were there for me when I needed someone to talk to in the wee hours of the morning after one of the most devastating 911 calls I have ever taken. I won’t go into detail here but others can find it within my blog. It was a crazy call that involved brothers and it messed me up for the rest of the night. As soon as I got out of work I had to call you. I knew talking to you would be the only thing to calm my nerves. Its moments like this that make me happy and I thank the big man upstairs, and our parents, to have you as my brother. I love you man, and Happy Birthday!
(To our moment in Cumberland. The city in the sky.)Post Views: 157
By Ricardo — 2 years ago
For over 13 years I answered the call of those who needed help. I have listened to couples yell and swear at each other over the phone while their kids cried in the background, the heavy breathes of someone terrified that they will be found while hiding from an intruder and the sound of mourning as a loved one has taken their last breath. I have also listened to a frantic father as his wife gave birth to their child, the tears of joy as the Heimlich instructions I gave helped a mother dislodge hard candy from her child’s throat, and the feeling of satisfaction from talking down a suicidal subject. I have also sat on the radio while an officer yelled out, “SHOTS FIRED, OFFICER HIT” while my team and I sat in horror, speechless and listening to voices to figure out who was shot. I’ve listened to an officer call for back up while out with a known felon and stared at the monitor in slow motion as backup made their way to assist their brother in blue. I have also cracked jokes with fellow dispatchers and officers during a shift on situations and topics that only we would understand.
I have taken every call that you can think of and worked almost every emergency situation and I survived. I have to thank my co-workers and all those in the field throughout Allegan County, MI for helping me. We worked like a well oiled machine and I will always be grateful to you. Throughout the years we shared our knowledge and triumphed on nights that felt like they would never end and were impossible to handle. It was through that shared knowledge that made us great. Towards the end of my dispatch career I took this idea of shared knowledge and decided to venture out. I attended my first NENA conference in 2012 not knowing what to expect. I was under the assumption that this would be one long week of classes where I would be bored out of my mind but I was wrong. I was hooked and grateful that I was given the opportunity to attend. A few years prior to the 2012 conference I hit the dispatch burn out stage. It was horrible. I was working an ungodly amount of overtime, I hardly saw my family and I was going to school full-time. I began working on a school project that lit my passion on fire and is the earliest version of the podcast I created, Within the Trenches. I also began to write about my experience in dispatch and after Michigan NENA my passion for 9-1-1 was on.
What solidified my passion at the conference was meeting people who did the same thing I did every day. I spoke to people who had taken similar calls and understood what it was like on the other side of the line. It’s something I can’t explain, you have to experience it. Now, some might say that their experience was dull and nothing like mine but my thought is that you have to put yourself out there. Jump out of your comfort zone and talk, learn and share your knowledge. The following year I had a popular blog where I shared my 9-1-1 experience and the beginning of my podcast. At the 2013 Michigan NENA conference I spoke for the first time about my dispatch story and the show. I also recorded a handful of episodes and from there I was jolted to the national conference in Charlotte, NC. I met so many people at the conference. I interviewed industry partners, dispatch directors and the unsung heroes of 9-1-1, dispatch. It was an amazing experience!
Recently, NENA and Friends of 911 started a scholarship that would send dispatchers to the national conference. I have been lucky enough to interview the dispatchers who were awarded the scholarship since the time it started. Later this month they will start up the registration process for the scholarship and it makes me wish I had had the opportunity to apply back when I was in dispatch but in the end I found my own way. Because of my experience with NENA, I want to create my own scholarship through the podcast. I have spoken to a few people within NENA to make this happen and they like the idea. This is not to take away from what they are doing, it is to add to what they are doing. With that said I am looking for sponsors to help make this happen. The scholarship will cover the conference registration, a one-day training course and a $500 travel stipend. The total value will be just under $2,000. Your sponsorship will get you advertising on the podcast as well as the blog and all of my social media outlets. The difference will be covered by merchandise sold through the podcast. Instructions on how dispatchers can register for this scholarship will be released in the next week. A link for two of the products are found below along with t-shirts coming soon. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor please email me at email@example.com. We can work together to sweeten the deal in return for your participation.
The Within the Trenches Podcast Scholarship is something I have thought about for a while and now I am going to make it a reality. Let’s help a 9-1-1 dispatcher out there attend this conference and experience something amazing. My ride started in Allegan and has continued through organizations like NENA and the company I work for, INdigital. I continue to do what I do because I believe everyone has a story to tell and by telling those stories we share knowledge.
Daughters of Dispatch – Nine One One Original 5X5 Vinyl Decal – Link
Sons of Dispatch – Nine One One Original 5X5 Vinyl Decal – LinkPost Views: 178