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County 911 Center Celebrates Life with "Tree of Life" Mural

With a racing heart and sweating palms, a husband looks at his wife helplessly as she lies collapsed on the floor, suffering a cardiac event. Everyone knows how to press 9-1-1, but what about the next step? What is he supposed to do while precious seconds are ticking by?

According to the CDC, administering CPR in the first few minutes of a cardiac event can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.

Public Safety Telecommunicator (PST) Senior Rhonda Moore was on the other end of the line when this husband called 911. Wasting no time, Moore gave life-saving instructions: stay calm, start CPR, keep a steady pace while waiting for paramedics. These instructions led to the wife surviving after being transported to the hospital. Her second chance at life begins while Moore picks up the next call, ready to save another.

“It all starts with a call to 911,” said then-director of EMA and 911, Chris Grimes. “They come to work not knowing what the day is going to bring, what the next call is going to bring.”

Wanting to give these hard-working individuals the support and recognition they deserve, Grimes had a “Tree of Life” mural painted in the 911 center. The mural, painted by local artist Andy Bert, will come to life as 911 telecommunications officers place leaves with their names on the tree, signifying a life saved or baby delivered. 

The first leaf placed on the tree is owned by PST Supervisor Shannon Parham, who helped a husband deliver their baby after his wife went into labor unexpectedly and away from medical care. While the couple took home their child, Parham took home a “Stork Award” to remember her part in bringing a new life into the world, her first delivery call in 10 years of service.  

“You breathe a sigh of relief when you hear that mother and baby are alright,” said Parham. “We’re the first ones you hear, and I know it’s an important job. The team I work with day in and day out are very important to me and they each do a very hard job.”

Moore also won an award, the “Life Saving Award”, for her work. Moving forward, all 911 telecommunications officers will receive either a “Life Saving Award” or a “Stork Award” when they have a life-saving call.

For Board of Commissioners Chairman and District 2 Commissioner Alfred John, the work the Public Safety Telecommunicators do everyday in the 911 Center is vital to the overall wellness and safety of the County’s residents.

“While this tree might serve as a reminder of how precious life is, I hope it’s also a reminder of how important this work is.”



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