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Dispatchers and Children Honored as 9-1-1 Heroes at Celebrity Golf Tournament
Author: Article & Photos by Ryan Dedmon, Anaheim PD Communications
"9-1-1 Hero" Paula and Anaheim (CA) Police Dispatcher Leora Navarro are flanked by Supermodel Kathy Ireland and NFL Hall-of-Famer Tim Brown after receiving honors from 9-1-1 For Kids to kick-off this year's Celebrity Classic Golf Tournament
Actors and professional athletes gathered together on Monday, May 20th at the St. Regis Golf Resort for a celebrity golf tournament as a fundraiser for the 9-1-1 For Kids organization. The organization publicly recognized two local dispatchers and children as 9-1-1 Heroes to kick-off the tournament. A dispatcher from the Anaheim Police Department (CA) and one from the California Highway Patrol were honored, along with two children they each received a 9-1-1 call to report an emergency.
9-1-1 For Kids is a non-profit organization that specializes in making educational materials to assist emergency dispatchers in teaching children the proper use of 9-1-1 and other general emergency preparedness tips. It is officially recognized by many federal and state emergency communication offices. Part of their educational campaign includes honoring children who successfully utilize 9-1-1 to report an emergency and request help. Police and fire agencies make special nominations of children who have called into their respective dispatch centers and send them to 9-1-1 For Kids for award consideration.
Above: Dispatcher Leora Navarro with 911 For Kids Founder, Elise Kim
NFL wide receiver and future Hall-of-Famer Tim Brown and business mogul/supermodel Kathy Ireland are ambassadors for 9-1-1 For Kids and welcomed guests to the event. The Laker Girls were also at the event to meet people. NFL legends Marcus Allen, Jim Plunkett, Willie Gault, and Bob Golic, along with former MLB All-Star Kenny Lofton, and NHL Anaheim Ducks Forward Bobby Ryan all participated in the golf tournament to raise money for 9-1-1 For Kids. There was a special ceremony prior to the start of the golf tournament to honor the dispatchers and children. The Anaheim Police Department and California Highway Patrol were to the only two local agencies in Orange County, CA, to nominate children to receive the prestigious 9-1-1 Hero Award.
Unfortunately, the child who was nominated by the California Highway Patrol was unable to attend the event, so only the dispatcher was recognized. The Anaheim Police Department nominated a 10-year-old girl, named Paula. In June 2012, Paula called 9-1-1 from a cell phone to request police assistance at her apartment for a family disturbance. The dispatcher was unable to get much information during the phone call because Paula’s voice was drowned out by hysterical screaming in the background. The dispatcher had to work with the cell phone service provider to trace the call and get subscriber information for the cell phone in order to pinpoint Paula’s location. Police officers arrived on scene and found an assault in progress. They took a suspect into custody without incident, thereby saving the life of the victim. The officers credited Paula’s quick call to 9-1-1 as the determining factor that saved her family member’s life.
At first, Paula was shy when she met the dispatcher she spoke with on 9-1-1. She was a polite little girl. However, she started to open up once she saw the Laker Girls. She and her family took several pictures with Tim Brown and Kathy Ireland. Paula was presented Proclamations from 9-1-1 For Kids and the Anaheim Police Department. She was also given a medallion for being a 9-1-1 Hero. The celebrities participating in the golf tournament gave her a standing ovation. Paula said she skipped an important U.S. History test in school to be a 9-1-1 Hero.
After the ceremony, Paula walked a little taller. There was a slight skip in her step that was not there before. 9-1-1 For Kids hosted an incredible event that will leave Paula and her family with lasting memories. As the golfers sped off in their carts waving at Paula, it was clearly evident this amazing experience changed this little girl’s life and her family’s attitude about working with police in the future to resolve problems. Congratulations to the dispatchers from the Anaheim Police Department and the California Highway Patrol for their outstanding work. The work of a dispatcher is vital to any police response, but it so often goes unnoticed. It was very moving to see Paula meet the dispatcher who she spoke with over the phone. Thank you to 9-1-1 For Kids Founder Elise Kim, Tim Brown, Kathy Ireland, the Laker Girls, and the other celebrities/athletes for a brilliant event that strengthened relationships between the community and law enforcement.
For more information on 9-1-1 For Kids, the educational materials they provide, and the community events they sponsor, please visit their website: www.911forkids.com
Below: Kathy Ireland congratulates 9-1-1 Hero Paula while the L.A. Laker Girls, Dispatcher Leora Navarro, and Paula's younger sister look on.