Thursday, August 14, 2008

911 Dispatcher Needs Help

Just so I feel better about helping others as I so often do, I want to share this Email I received this morning about a 911 dispatch supervisor that was struck by a car in Kansas City. I share this because having been a 911 dispatcher for almost 13 years, I feel close to this person though I have never met her. Dispatchers are the unseen face in most hero stories. They are the first responders on accidents, burglaries, family fights, etc. It is their calm voice during a turbulent storm in someone's life that reaches out into the depths of despair and gives hope to the person on the other end of the telephone.

Rarely are dispatchers recognized by their supervisors, police officers, the citizens of their community, etc. While police officers and fire fighters are always given recognition for helping others, dispatchers rarely get recognized & yet, they wouldn't change jobs for any amount of money or recognition. Patti was one of the best & she was being recognized. Any assistance you can give this family I know would be appreciated.

If you would like to donate a quilt to Patti to give her comfort during this period in her life, that would also be appreciated.

I don't gain anything out of this, I just want everyone to know how special 911 dispatchers are and remember; 'Dispatchers save seconds, seconds save lives!'

Dear 911 CARES supporter:

PSTC and 911 CARES is currently at the APCO national conference in Kansas City. We were advised of the local tragedy below. Please keep Patti in your prayers. We will keep updates posted at in the activation area.

Posted Monday, August 4th

Last night, APCO member and Whittcom, Washington 9-1-1 Director Patti VonBargen was the victim of a hit and run by an intoxicated driver. The suspect is in custody. She was in a cross walk near the convention center walking home with two InterAct employees. Patti suffered a severely crushed leg and broken arm and is still in surgery this morning. Local news reports say she was dragged up to 100 feet by the suspect vehicle.

**Update at 5pm local time, she is out of surgery and we are awaiting an update. Patti's 18 year old daughter is being flown in to be with her Mom. The local chapter and WA chapter are working closely together to fill the needs of Patti and her family.

911 CARES has offered to pay for both of these costs. We'll keep you updated when there is anything you can do beyond prayer. Friends of Patti are asking that nobody call her room at the hospital as she is in ICU. When she is moved to a private room, we will post it** She does not have life threatening injuries, but she's going to need some significant healing time. She's at the Truman Medical Center in Kansas City . Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

We will keep you updated on this tragic event and post the Truman address when Patti is moved. We went shopping for get well cards tonight and will have them signed at the PSTC booth at APCO. We'll deliver them Tuesday and Wednesday night after conference hours.

Tuesday 8-5 update at 15:38 local time:


Below we have more information from the accident and an address where cards and well wishes can be sent.

Sunday, Patti was walking to her hotel after having dinner with two InterAct employees. One InterAct staffer made it onto the curb, another InterAct staffer was hit by the side of the drunk driver's car and Patti took the full force of the impact. The driver fled after dragging Patti's body but was later arrested.

Patti went through extensive surgery Monday but she is in serious condition. PLEASE keep Patti, the Washington Chapter of APCO and all of the staff at Whittcom and InterAct in your prayers. Today, 911 CARES team members Richard Behr and Kevin Willett went through the vendor area and asked vendors to sign cards and give us "vendor gifts". We filled a big bag of goodies that Patti will enjoy when she gets better. We also spoke with Peggy at Grays Harbor 9-1-1 to reinforce our financial and emotional support for Patti, her agency and her family. We have spoken to Conference Chair Robin Tieman and members of WA APCO reassuring them of our ongoing support!

One last note, if there is any question of rumors, let us address them. We are 1000% supportive and appreciative of everything that Willis Carter, all Chapters of APCO, individual members and the local conference committee have done. Please do what you can to send your love and support to Patti. See the update below provided by Washington APCO.

Tuesday Update: Patti's son Jeremy has arrived and is being briefed this morning by the medical staff. We're continuing to make other flight and housing arrangements for her other son and daughter to join her. I don't have an update on her condition except to say that she is still in ICU, is in a lot of pain and needs her rest. Cards are welcome
but since she is still in ICU, she is not able to receive flowers and her family asks that you please do not call yet as she is trying to rest. We appreciate all the well wishes and I know they are being passed on to her and her family. If you have any questions, please
don't hesitate to ask.

Cards may be sent to:
Patti VonBargen
c/o Truman Medical Center
2301 Holmes
ICU Room 204 bed 1
Kansas City , MO 64108

Continue to keep her in your prayers...deb

Deb Welsh
Assistant Director - Skagit 911
(360) 428-3200

1730 local time:

InterAct has informed us that the staff member that was hit in Patti's accident is now safely home. We also delivered the first batch of well wishes and cards to the nursing station for Patti’s unit. We didn’t want to bother the family but the nurse was happy to deliver the cards for us. --911 CARES

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