CRESA Always Here, Always Ready

Employee of The YEAR – 2021

Each year, CRESA employees have a chance to nominate peers for Employee of the Year who demonstrate the CRESA Values. This year, Sarah J. has been named CRESA Employee of the Year! 

Sarah J. CRESA 2021 Employee of the Year

Here are Sarah’s nomination: 

Sarah J. stared at CRESA March 9th, 2015 as a trainee for 911 Call Taking and Dispatching and is currently a Certified Training Officer.  Sarah’s dedication, professionalism and positivity during this past year in performance of her job duties aligns with the values and attributes for CRESA Employee of the Year.  Below are some of the specific written nominations.

Sarah is one of those people who works well with everyone. She always is trying to find ways to make CRESA a better place whether its making sure people are celebrated for their accomplishments, birthdays, to trying to problem solve when issues arise. She has been training non-stop for the last few years and there are many successful trainees that are a product of her dedication. I often refer to her as the “Super-Trainer” because not only is she making sure trainees get all correct things signed off and experienced but she is constantly willing to adjust the training plan to help benefit the floor when staffing challenges arise.  Sarah’s presence on the floor makes many people smile as she brings a sense of humor and kindness that is just what we all need in the line of work we do. She is not afraid to speak up if there is something that needs addressing but always does it in a respectful and professional way.

Sarah is always so detailed in her work, having the dedication to the job and does the job well. Every call is treated with professionalism. She is, in my opinion, one of the best trainers here. She is tremendously supportive of her fellow coworkers. She is one of the only ones I’ve noticed who specifically asks if it’s OK for her to leave at the end of her shift, basically offering her services for longer if it helps the floor.

Sarah J. is an amazing asset to CRESA and is like our own personal cheerleader. She never misses an opportunity to show others how important they are to CRESA.

Thank you for your attention to detail and commitment to people, both those you work with and those on the other end of your headset.  We applaud your tenacity and dedication for the good of all things 911 related. 

We asked Sarah to share a little about herself, in her own words:

How long have you worked for CRESA?

7 years

What is the best part of working for CRESA?  

I don’t think I can name just one thing! First of all, I have the privilege of helping others every single day. Sometimes that help is big, like coaching someone through CPR, or working a police radio during a major incident. Sometimes that help is smaller, like providing resources to a citizen, or sending police to a traffic hazard. No two shifts are the same. Next, I work alongside the best of the best. I spend every shift surrounded by smart, hard working, funny, and kind people who all bring something special to the workplace. We truly are a family – it might sound cliché, but it is a fact. My coworkers are incredible! And lastly, I enjoy training new dispatchers. It is really exciting to see them progress, and to find ways to accommodate different learning styles. OH! And the 4 days on / 4 days off schedule is AMAZING.

What was the most interesting job you did before CRESA?

My prior work history includes managing a Cinnabon bakery, working at an HVAC company, and working in several different positions at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. The most interesting job was the position I first had at PHSW. I was a dispatcher for the housekeeping department, and it was in that job that I learned a lot about the healthcare world. Hospital housekeepers have a HARD job and I have the utmost respect for them! As a dispatcher I would assign housekeepers to newly vacated rooms that needed cleaned, while tracking data and the flow of the housekeepers throughout the hospital. There were time requirements for “turning around” a patient room, and it was a really interesting job! I also spent time working in the Behavioral Health Department at PHSW, and this too was very interesting. I was their Administrative Assistant, and during my time there I met incredible people in that department who made a major impact on my life. It was also very eye opening to learn about the mental healthcare field, the mental health resources available in our community, the importance of mental healthcare access, etc.

Brag about your family. 

I have an amazing family!! My immediate family includes my husband Michael, and my sons, Joshua and Jacob. Michael and I met while working at PHSW (where he is an IT Analyst). He likes to say we met because I kept calling IT for a broken printer and he “saved the day” but that isn’t the full story!! Joshua is 23 years old and is currently stationed in Great Falls, Montana serving our country in the Air Force as a mechanic. Jacob is 20 years old, and a Sophomore at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA. I love being a mom! We also have a chocolate lab named Kayak, she is a crazy goofy girl! Beyond that, I am blessed to have a very close extended family. I talk to my parents almost daily, I have two sisters who are incredibly special to me, and many other relatives who are an important part of my life and support system.

Tell us some of your hobbies?  

I love crafty stuff, sewing, basically anything you can find in a craft store is fun to me! My husband and I enjoy kayaking, our favorite place to go is in Ridgefield where you can kayak along the Wildlife Refuge. I also enjoy writing, traveling, and baking.

Aside from work, what is something else you excel at?  

Throwing parties. I love planning them, preparing for them, and all that goes into making an event extra special.

What was your favorite vacation and why?  

Oh gosh, every vacation is amazing to me! Michael and I love going to Maui! It truly is our happy place! We enjoy exploring, snorkeling, hiking, and everything this beautiful island has to offer. We have also taken some epic road trips, one of our favorites was down the California coast to visit Joshua when was stationed in Port Hueneme, CA. And, in 2005, I was able to spend two weeks in Tanzania (East Africa) with my parents and an amazing group of people. This was an unforgettable trip!

What food or drink item can you not live without?   

Water. It is seriously my favorite. And coffee!

During COVID lockdown, what did you do to keep your sanity and have fun? 

I got creative! Lots of baking, sewing, crafting. I also got into walking, and began tracking my steps with a Fitbit. Since my husband and I both have jobs that required being on site and in person, a lot of things didn’t change too much for us. My favorite COVID memory is when Jacob and I drove to Montana to see Joshua for a long weekend in June of 2020. We drove straight there with super fast/safe stops for necessities along the way, and then holed up in a hotel room with Josh for the weekend. We ordered take out, played Nintendo games, watched movies. During a time when things felt hard/scary/complicated, this small getaway for a hotel slumber party with my sons was really special. 

Last but not least, give us some words of wisdom that have helped you on your journey.  

GO WHERE YOU ARE CALLED TO GO! When trying to decide if this was a job I could really do, a former coworker said to me “A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not where ships are meant to be”. That essentially was my journey into this career path, leaving what was known and familiar and in many ways easier, to do something I felt called to do. Many thought I was nuts to leave a 9-5 job with my own office (and my own bathroom!) to do this job. However, I felt called to do it. And, this job takes a VILLAGE. No joke. First of all, I never would have applied at CRESA if it weren’t for my husband’s encouragement. He said to stop saying “I sure would like to be a 911 Dispatcher” and apply already! He assured me that I could do this, and that he would be here to support me along the journey. And, here I am! When I was going through my training process, my kids spent many weekends driving around Clark County with me. They quizzed me on landmarks, road names, abbreviations, etc. And then there is my broader support system, friends and family who all understand that I don’t have a “normal” schedule. Holidays might need to be on different days than the actual holiday. I don’t have every weekend off. Until this past January, I worked the graveyard shift. I might miss that graduation/birthday/get together. I might not text you back right away. Planning ahead is the only way I can make plans. Overtime is exhausting, and sometimes (often) I need a “recovery day” after my work week. My people, my inner circle, they all understand this. And, they continue to encourage me, support me, pray for me, and be there for me…because this job isn’t easy. However, it is VERY rewarding!

Thank You Sarah and Congratulations on being named CRESA’s 2021 Employee of the Year!

CRESA also awarded three Exemplary Service Awards.

Sally D.

Sally D.

Sally D. was awarded for actions during the near drowning of Deputy Sean Robertson. The help that arrived first was entirely due to Sally brainstorming for non-typical answers to a rapidly evolving situation. Sally seeing that the Paradise point boat launch was nearby figured that if someone WAS there they would be uniquely situated geographically to get to Sean very quickly. I called the boat launch and got Chris and explained the situation and how dire it was to him and he understood immediately and said he would do what he could. As we all know now Chris did move and moved quickly and was first on scene to pull Sean into his boat.  Sally stands out for accepting that typical solutions weren’t going to make it in time so rather than give up she looked for and found a solution.  She performed in an exemplary manner and deserve recognition for their actions that day.

Kelly H.

Kelly H.

Kelly was awarded for actions during the near drowning of Deputy Sean Robertson. I think everyone is aware of the details surrounding this incident but wanted to point out that Kelly H. was on the phone with someone she has worked with for years who was in a grave situation and it was quite possible it may have been his last phone call. Kelly stayed on the phone with him for 25-30 minutes which must have felt like hours and she certainly was feeling helpless to do anything more than what she was already doing. But Kelly stayed on the line and kept giving him encouragement to hold on until help arrived.

Everyone on the team that day helped to solve it but Kelly’s task to stay on the line with a friend in a life or death struggle stands out as a particularly difficult job and she performed admirably. She performed in an exemplary manner and deserve recognition for their actions that day.

Anthony V.

Anthony V.

Anthony demonstrated great creativity, flexibility and dedication in the performance of his duties in 2021.  He was always willing to take on a new challenge and see it through.  He continued his work with the CRESA Personal Protective Equipment warehouse logistics section and worked many hours with Clark County Public Health to help support vaccination clinics.  He has spearheaded the creation of a new agency website and has made sure that his continuity projects, Hazard Mitigation plan and Critical Infrastructure Assessment Planning, have stayed on track-in spite of the challenges created by pandemic meeting restrictions.

Congratulations to all of the CRESA 2021 Award Recipients! 

Clark County

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