When you call for help, they are the calm voice on the other end of the line. They are unruffled, asking for addresses and other details to send help. They are composed, giving instructions to the caller on how to respond.
When people call 911 seeking help, the dispatchers that answer are the unseen but heard people who get first responders on the way.
Kim Borresen is a dispatcher at Fort Stewart’s 911 center. On April 15, the final day of National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, she was honored with a certificate from the Georgia Emergency Communications Authority for going above and beyond.
How Borresen went above and beyond was balancing her a personal situation with her work. Borresen was diagnosed with breast cancer almost a year ago. Throughout her treatment, she did not miss work, said Ben Collins, the 911 center director.
“Through the whole thing, she’s been right here,” Collins said. “The fact that she did not tuck tail and run and go to the house is impressive.”
Together, Collins and Borresen worked on ensuring she covered her shifts and still got the medical treatment she needed, Collins said.
“Her goal all along was to balance her work mission and her treatments and doctor’s appointments,” he said.
Borresen knew Collins had submitted her for the recognition was surprised and shocked to be selected for the honor. She has worked as a dispatcher for three years. Before that she served as a Department of the Army police officer.
“I’ve learned more here in the past year than I thought I could,” Borresen said. “I don’t think I ever appreciated the dispatchers that I have had my whole professional career until I came in and sat in this seat.”
The flexibility and understanding Collins showed her was appreciated, Borresen said. She worked every day since she started treatment. Staying on the job kept her active and mentally challenged.
“Allowing me to work helped,” Borresen said.
Lt. Col. Craig Giancaterino, director of emergency services, said Borresen is a valued teammate and deserved the recognition. She and her fellow dispatchers are the tip of the spear, giving first responders the information they need to respond properly every day of the year, 24/7.
“This is a great way to end Telecommunicators Week,” he said. “What a better way to go above and beyond to recognize one of our employees who doesn’t always get the face recognition.”
Pam Waters, the emergency communications field coordinator for the Georgia Emergency Communications Authority presented Borresen with the certificate. Waters worked as a dispatcher herself two years ago and was touched by Borresen’s story and dedication, one of the several submissions sent to her for her consideration from across the region she is responsible for.
“It’s just something I do to give back,” Waters said. “It was one that touched my heart and I wanted to make sure she was recognized.”