911 Operators Honored for Inspiring Others

A Tri-State man is lucky to be alive today - and the 911 dispatcher who helped save his life is being recognized for her valiant effort.

Dawn Koking led a five hour search to find Mike Wilson. On December 9th, Mike was driving home from work when he started losing consciousness - a side effect of his diabetes. Mike describes it like this,"It's almost like being in a bad dream. You just can't wake up from it. And you just want to come out of it, because you want to call off the search and say, hey I'm okay."

Mike managed to call his girlfriend, Leigh Ann, who called 911. Dawn answered - and knew someone had to find Mike right away. Dawn started with Mike's cell phone. She went through his wireless provider to track his cell phone signal. That didn't work. When Dawn's shift ended at 2am, she met up with Leigh Ann and they started searching the streets together. Leigh Ann stayed on the phone with Mike, who managed to tell her a phone number on the side of a nearby building and said he saw something about fish. Police used a reverse directory and found Mike at Crazy Jim's Fishboat on Beekman in Cincinnati. Mike knows he's lucky to be alive. He tells Fox 19,"You could never really appreciate how hard those guys work just to make sure that something we take for granted every day is given back to us. You know, I very well couldn't be here right now."

Dawn and her counterparts at Hamilton County 911 are being honored for their ingenuity and dedication that night. The Ohio Chapters of the National Emergency Number Association and the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials International have chosen Dawn and her coworkers on the third shift for the 2004 Gold Star Award. The award acknowledges those 911 dispatchers not just for professional excellence, but for their inspiration. The awards ceremony is April 13th.