Houston County sheriff honors dispatchers, deputy Thursday

Updated: Apr. 27, 2017 at 4:15 PM CDT
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HOUSTON CO., AL (WSFA) - In an emergency, first responders are on the scene, but they can't be there without the dispatchers who work behind the scenes. It's not everyday they're recognized for the work they do, but Houston County Sheriff Donald Valenza made a point to do so Thursday morning.

Some of the best were honored.

Kara Rafferty was one of three dispatchers awarded Thursday. On Feb. 16, she handled a shooting on County Road 81 that resulted in the death of a man known for twirling his bat on the sidewalk across from the Houston County Courthouse. Sheriff Valenza says she remained on the line during the entire domestic dispute.

"Telecommunications Rafferty remained calm and professional during extreme tense situation. She gathered intelligence needed in a timely professional manner to get the appropriate resources," said Donald Valenza, Houston County Sheriff.

Misty May and Michelle Mcrae were recognized for their work on Feb. 24, when two deputies were struck by a semi.

"The deputies are our family. It's a huge family. My goal at the end of the day, I want all of them to go home. Everybody has somebody at home waiting for them at the end of the day so once we heard they were okay we could breathe again," Misty May said.

Sheriff Valenza recognized one of his own also. On Sept. 7, Lt. Jackie Smith responded to an 8-year-old struck by a pickup truck in Ashford. He did everything he could to save the little girl pinned under the vehicle.

"Lt. Smith had gotten under the vehicle, started caring for one of the injured. The child had been run over, apparently had critical injuries. Lt. stabilized the victim until rescue arrived with the proper equipment to try to handle the situation," Valenza said.

"It was a very tragic event that a family ended up losing a child which I have kids myself and it would be unbearable to think about that but I was just glad to be able to be there to help out and do what I could," Smith said.

Valenza would like to stress the importance of recognizing and thanking law enforcement and dispatchers for the vital role they play in the community every day.

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