At Jasper County Emergency Services, we aren’t just co-workers/employees, we are a work family, a WAMILY.
Let me explain our dynamics. Here at JASCO, we actually mean something to each other. We are supportive and care about each and every team member. This goes beyond our four walls and extends into the field for the multiple agencies we dispatch for. If something happens to one of us, it happens to all of us… the good and the bad.
It isn’t anything for anyone to pick up the phone and reach out to a co-worker, deputy, firefighter, paramedic, or even our executive director to talk about that “one bad call” that seems to haunt us forever. We are a support system.
We have monthly WAMILY events where we get together for dinner or just a fun activity. Most of us socialize outside of work and even know each other’s families. We have been to the hospital to visit the new baby or shown up at a grandparent’s funeral. Meeting up for breakfast, after a very long overnight shift, is not out of the norm. It’s a great way to blow off steam. Even if it is talking over a cup of coffee, having an adult beverage—or 6, we are here for everyone. Membership in our WAMILY is often for life. Past employees that we have all grown attached to are still invited; and often attend, our WAMILY functions and activities.
I know that BINGO is on Saturday nights at the VFW in Webb City and all I have to do is just send Amber a quick text telling her I want to go. Not only does she go, but she brings her mom along. Her husband has come over and mowed my yard. My kids have watched her youngest son.
I am confident that I can call Josh any time, since he has come back from his deployment, and talk for an hour about the happenings at work or try to talk him into lunch on our day off.
If the weather is bad, I expect a text from Drew telling us to be careful on our drive into work. He then brags about what he made for supper the night before.
Kima is always the first one to help with scheduling time off so we can have time with our families. She is a wiz with the schedule! She pushes us to be the best by getting us EMD Accredited! Watching her youngest son grow up, is also amazing.
Jeff always has something funny to say. It is never a dull moment working with him. His daughter, Sarah, is always included in our WAMILY events and I can call her for adventure.
Mike R. is a jack of all trades. He makes sure all of our systems are up and running but still picks on us if we have troubles making it work. If he sees you in town, he makes sure you see him too.
There are so many unique and special people at JASCO. Each one of us has so many strengths and talents that it makes it difficult to talk about all of us here. Whether it’s a brand-new person (with no dispatch experience), or someone that has been here since the center opened over twenty years ago, each of us brings something different to the table and we offer different perspectives.
Our center takes care of us. For National Telecommunicators Week, our board of directors makes sure we get appreciation for the work we do. T-shirts, thermal cups, lunch bags are all just a small example of the gifts they make sure we get. We have a Fun Committee that organizes our WAMILY events and NTW. They dictate what our theme is for what day, makes sure we get food and goodies, and work their tails off getting us donations from area businesses to show their appreciation for our profession. Our fire departments have cooked us pancakes and barbequed for us. The local police departments, and Sheriff’s department, brings us candy and always makes sure we feel loved. The ambulance service makes sure to send a large tray of tasty pastries.
Our WAMILY events are extended out to surrounding agencies, not just the agencies we dispatch for, but other PSAPS. For NTW, cupcakes and other treats have been delivered to smaller dispatch centers. We hope to extend out our WAMILY events to other counties, or even to make the events we do more regional. Being a dispatcher is more than talking on the radio or phone, its about connecting with everyone. It’s the support system, the appreciation, and the empathy that makes the good days amazing and the bad days bearable. This is why our Executive Director, April Ford, is the Chairperson for Missouri Public Safety Communications Conference (MPSCC). MPSCC is a joint effort, of Missouri NENA and Missouri APCO, for dispatchers in all disciplines of public safety, to come together and learn while still having fun. MPSCC holds 2 conferences a year. Through this conference, our inception of WAMILY events has been introduced to other agencies.
We are all very blessed and grateful to have each other. These are our brothers, sisters, moms, and dads. We argue, we make up… it happens. Each of our kids belong to all of us and play together at our get-togethers. We are more than JASCO, we are WAMILY.