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I Answered
I responded to a request for additional Communications Officers on Monday, April 16, 2007. I arrived at work just before lunch, under the impression that additional personnel were needed for the thunderstorms and high winds. I remember thinking as I pulled into the parking lot, amidst supervisory vehicles from all of our public safety partners, "Someone has been shot." I hurried inside and started handling all of the fire incidents caused by the thunderstorms in Roanoke County. While mentally taxing, we often have weather systems come through Roanoke County and I was prepared to handle them. I was not prepared to answer call after call after call regarding the dozens of people violently killed or injured on the Virginia Tech campus. I answered calls from CNN and other national news media. I answered calls from students' relatives in Vermont, North Carolina, and as far away as Europe. I even answered a call from an upset student that missed class in Norris Hall that morning.

The searing experiences of our profession make you grateful for every breath you take.

I Dispatched
For years, we had heard stories about the eccentric old man that had tires all over his property. As the tires accumulated, the fire administration became concerned about the hazardous materials situation that would be created if a fire broke out on his land. One afternoon, the inevitable happened. A fire broke out on the property and we had to send units to extinguish it. Due to the wind speed, the fire grew quickly and was spreading faster than the fire department could put it out. First, it was a two-company response. Then, they asked me to dispatch another company, and another, and another. After two and a half hours, the battalion chief called me on the radio and requested an All-County page for manpower to respond for this incident. Never before in my eight-year history with Roanoke County had I dispatched every one of our eleven fire companies to a single incident.

I listened in amazement as the tones sounded throughout the Valley, calling all personnel to help.

I Connected
We received a telephone call from another locality. They could not make contact with an individual who was having a hard time. I immediately called him to see if he wanted to talk to a police officer about his recent troubles. After we had spoken for a while, he finally told me where he was so that the police officers could further assist him with his needs at that time.

By gaining this caller's trust, he got the help he desired.