POMEROY — Lt. Teresa Johnson and Dispatcher Danny Davis have been named EMT/Medic of the Year and Dispatcher of the Year.
The pair found out last week from Robbie Jacks, director of Meigs County EMS/911. This is Davis’ second year as Dispatcher of the Year. The pair have been with Meigs County EMS for decades, with Johnson beginning her volunteer work with the department in 1985 and eventually joining full time in 2007. Davis began as a volunteer in 1987 and became an official full-time employee in 1994. Neither of them plan on retiring anytime soon, and say they’ll be in Meigs County the rest of their lives.
The pair both said their interest in their current field began at a young age. Both Davis’ mother and father were involved in EMS, and Thompson said her father was involved with the Racine Fire Department for as long as she could remember. Their interests became full-fledged careers that have garnered them honors, Jacks said.
“We’ve had a lot of change, and a lot of growth, and if it wasn’t for these two we wouldn’t have accomplished what we’ve accomplished,” he said. “They’ve worked hard for the mission to accomplish what we’ve accomplished, and they’ve put a lot of effort in. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate both of them. Honestly, when I need something done I’m picking up the phone or I’m walking into wherever they’re at and saying ‘I need your help on this,’ and they’ve never said no.”
The two said that although they love their jobs, challenges are always inevitable — especially in such an intense field of work.
“I handled about 9,700 calls last year, just me,” Davis, who did truck maintenance until he became a dispatcher almost two years ago, said of the latter. “You get calls from a cat stuck in trees down to the major emergencies, like severe car wrecks. And you’re talking parents through CPR, and you know you really have to stay on the phone with the people and comfort them.”
For Davis, professionalism, no matter what the call, is the key.
“You’re going to face everything under the sun,” he said. “But you hold your cool; you’re the professional. You have to do the professional work.”
Johnson said that for her, becoming emotionally involved was difficult, but that you learn over the years how to cope.
“You just don’t take it home with you,” she said. “You learn early on that you just need to separate (home and work life). It gets to you at first, but you just have to figure it out.”
However, she did say that sometimes it’s hard not to bring it home when it comes to calls involving child fatalities, but she’s found a way to cope.
“I go and find a live (kid) and hug (them),” she said.
Both said they’re grateful to receive the recognition for jobs they love doing.
“It makes you feel good,” Johnson said.
“It’s just a privilege when you get that from your peers,” Davis added.
And for those who may just be entering the field, both Davis and Johnson advised them to look to those with more experience for any guidance.
“They should make sure they keep a level head,” Davis said.