Union Parish Dispatch Hero Honored

UNION PARISH, LA -- A local dispatch officer has been honored for handling a difficult emergency call.

For the last seven years, Sandra Ward has answered the call when those in trouble dial 911. Last November, one such dialer was involved in a serious emergency.

"It was a head on collision on the highway," said Ward, a 911 Dispatcher and TAC Officer for Union Parish. The victim, unfamiliar with the Union Parish area, could not tell where they were.

"I had to backtrack from where she started," recalled Ward.

Ward calmly coached the caller, step-by-step. She determined exactly where the accident took place.

"You have to use landmarks like a caution light or a store or a restaurant or something like that," Ward mentioned.

Ward then dispatched the necessary emergency responders.

"Asking the right questions, getting the right information, it definitely made the response much quicker than it would have been otherwise," noted Danny Smith, Union Parish's Homeland Security Director.

For her actions, Ward received the International 911 Dispatch Hero Award.

"It was an honor to be recognized by AT&T and 911 for kids because every one that sits in these chairs and does this job is a hero," said Ward.

Ward accepted the honor at an Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials conference earlier this month in New Orleans.

Smith nominated Ward and says he's proud she's the first Union Parish winner.

"It not only reflects on her but also hopefully on our agency and our parish that some things are being done and they're being done in a proper way," Smith commented.

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