2008 Dispatcher of the Year

ody the dotyIn April 2008, our public safety dispatchers nominated peers for the 2008 Dispatcher of the Year Award. From the nominees, members of the Management Team selected Melody "Ody" McDonald as the recipient of the 2008 Dispatcher of the Year Award.

Melody was hired as an SCCECC dispatcher in October 1998. After successfully graduating from the center’s rigorous six-week academic academy, she “earned her stripes” as a dispatcher by completing an intensive two-month training program on the floor. Four years later, Melody took a break to start a family, returning to SCCECC in July 2006.

She attained a certification from the National Academies of Emergency Dispatchers in 2007 after complying with that group’s high standards for Advanced Emergency Medical Dispatchers. Melody also has served as one of the center’s handful of Communications Training Officers, which also required specialized training.

Melody is one of those rare people who arrives at work with a smile both on her face and in her voice … and leaves work 10 or 12 hours later with that same happy attitude. The hours in between are filled with a spirit of generosity that reveals itself in the way she treats her colleagues, no matter how stressful the moment.

Melody realizes that a good mood can be contagious, and she spreads that mood by remaining upbeat and positive. She is a catalyst for change on the dispatch floor by continually looking for ways to solve problems rather than perpetuate them, and supporting others who are doing the same. Melody always can be counted on to commit a random act of kindness, or simply lend a helping hand to a fellow dispatcher.

Many of SCCECC’s Emergency Medical Dispatchers have worked a long time without having to give CPR instructions over the phone. Melody did in those typically-more-stressful first few weeks after being released from EMD training to take medical calls.

In October 24, 2007, a young woman had tied an electrical cord around her neck and, in full view of the neighbors, jumped off a porch on the side of a hill. By the time Melody took the call, neighbors had cut the cord that had been knotted around her throat, but the patient wasn’t breathing. Melody told the neighbor that the woman needed rescue breathing, and that she would provide the much-needed instructions to the very-nervous caller. And, despite being new to the job, Melody calmly relayed the CPR instructions step by step, going over it more than once when needed. After a few tense moments, the patient began moaning, then breathing on her own. She eventually was flown to a nearby trauma center for treatment.

Supervisors who listened to the call later determined that Melody’s quick and proper instructions helped bring this woman back from the brink of death.  Melody was nominated, and won the Red Cross Heroes Award for 2007 in the “Professional Rescuer” category.


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