Deanna McKay wins dispatching award

Deanna McKay of Sweet Home, a Linn County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher, was named the state’s Telecommunicator of the Year last week at an awards banquet in Welches honoring Oregon’s top public safety personnel.

The award recognizes “a telecommunicator who, by act or deed, makes an especially noteworthy contribution, positively impacting the statewide 9-1-1 system in a significant way.”

McKay was honored for handling the call reporting that her own 7-year-old son Taylor had been run over by a riding lawnmower. At the time of the call, she was already handling an armed robbery in Lebanon.

When she got the call that her son was injured, she dispatched medics to her home “and got that stuff going,” she said.

She was honored for her performance during the 20 minutes before she was relieved at the Dispatch Center and was able to leave.

“It was not a good feeling, being that far away and you can only talk to the child on the phone and hope that it isnít as bad as you think it is,” she said.

A TV show, “9-1-1 Life on the Line,” about the incident is planned for the Learning Channel, she said. It includes interviews with family members and Sweet Home paramedic Ken Weld, who responded to the call and worked on Taylor en route to Lebanon Community Hospital. She said a broadcast date has not been set.

And while she is back at work full-time, she doesn’t want to relive that experience ? with anyone.

“It is definitely the worst call I’ve ever taken and hope I ever do take,” she said. “I never want to take a call like that again.”