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Our unknown heroes

Dear Editor;

Every day, hundreds of people in Grays Harbor County reach out for help by dialing 911, knowing that the person on the other end of the line will send assistance. There is never any question that the person receiving the call from 911 will do exactly what is needed to help you.

What’s truly amazing is when you say the words “customer service,” most of us cringe, thinking about the retail business world, remembering countless minutes on hold, being passed from one person to another and becoming frustrated to the point of hanging up with no solution to our problem. That includes every type of customer service with the exception of 911.

When minutes and seconds make the difference between tragedy and life safety, 911 is always there to dispatch the proper response agencies. Their abilities remain high and indelible. Sitting in a small room, never seeing the fruits of their efforts, they tirelessly work without tribute or compliment. They are true heroes of our community.

This is the time of year when many of us reflect upon the past. While you reflect, think about the other heroes in our community. All of us have known someone who needed medical assistance, or driven past a fire or traffic accident along the highway, noticing the law enforcement, fire and emergency medical vehicles attending to the situation. We hear the large trucks of the county road crews, local Public Works crews and state Department of Transportation crews plowing and laying salt and gravel along our snow-covered and icy roadways. We wait patiently by candlelight in our homes, awaiting the PUD personnel to repair a downed power line during the most miserable and dangerous of weather conditions. Every one of the responders along with their dedicated support staff, remains virtually faceless and unknown to us, but depended upon desperately.

And, to all of the volunteers in our community, we owe more than gratitude. You are who and what distinguishes our community from all others. Without your efforts, every jurisdiction in Grays Harbor County would struggle mightily to sustain itself.

So, who are our 911 telecommunicators and dispatchers, our law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel, our Public Works, PUD and road crews and all of the other volunteers? They are our neighbors and people we walk by in the local grocery store, or wait behind at the gas station, unnoticed and unassuming. These dedicated individuals don’t perform their duties for accolades or newspaper articles; they do it because of personal satisfaction and dedication to all of us.

Grays Harbor County Emergency Management cannot express enough gratitude to every one of our unknown heroes for your assistance, perseverance and dedication to the citizens of the county, but we can offer this message to our citizens:

This holiday season, smile and say hello to the person you pass on the street or in the store aisle. Give a wave of thanks to a waiting car at the intersection; inside may be one of our unknown heroes. Make it a point to become involved in your community for yourself, your children and for your neighbors. Working together, our communities will become stronger, benefiting everyone for our future.

Happy holidays to everyone!

Charles T. Wallace

Deputy Director of

Emergency Management

Grays Harbor County