Oneida Co. telecommunicators receive Spirit Award
‘Heartbeat of the Sheriff’s Office’
By Eileen Persike
Describing the Oneida County telecommunicators he supervises, communications Lt. Jake Simkins said they are a “selfless group that truly cares for people and services they provide in whatever capacity or situation.”
The group of 13 telecommunicators received the 2021 Spirit Award, which was created in honor of the fallen Spirit 2 crew members, pilot Rico Caruso, flight nurse Klint Mitchell and flight paramedic Greg Rosenthal, who lost their lives in an accident April 26, 2018, as they returned from delivering a patient to a Madison hospital. It was Oneida County telecommunicators who responded to the 911 call after the crash.
“Telecommunicators receive information from the most frantic individuals and talk them through the worst day of their lives,” Simkins wrote in nominating the team. “The telecommunicators that took the call are still working in the dispatch center today…they will never forget that call but remained composed and dispatched emergency services to the area.”
In 2020, the “heartbeat of the Sheriff’s Office and Oneida County,” was behind the scenes of approximately 37,000 incidents and calls. During one nightshift earlier this year, the team helped deliver a baby.
“The telecommunicators realize they are part of a broad team with one common goal and that is helping mitigate injuries by starting instructions early and then passing it on to emergency services,” Simkins wrote. “[They] are the voice that calms during your worst day, the invisible hand that comforts during death, the friend who talks people out of suicide and the ears that listen to the needs of others.”
The award, presented by Ascension Wisconsin Spirit Medical Transport, recognizes an individual or crew from the emergency medical services (EMS) community for the exceptional, compassionate care they deliver daily and to honor excellence and exemplify what it means to be an EMS professional.
The Oneida County Telecommunicators honored are Amy Pequet, Jen Thompson, Nicole Lea, Trista Alsteen, Scott Meier, Brandi Gray, Jack Lilek, Rachel Malicki, Ethan Phelps, Megan Larson, Miranda Tarlton, Samantha O’Connor and Amanda Johnson.