Coast group brings gift bags to Baton Rouge dispatchers

Coast group brings gift bags to Baton Rouge dispatchers
Joshua says it was nice to visit the dispatchers. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Joshua says it was nice to visit the dispatchers. (Photo source: WLOX News)
Carla Mayfield, Joshua Mayfield, Richard LeNormand, Tina LeNormand, Gail Williams-Hockenhull, and Cindy Myers (Photo source: WLOX News)
Carla Mayfield, Joshua Mayfield, Richard LeNormand, Tina LeNormand, Gail Williams-Hockenhull, and Cindy Myers (Photo source: WLOX News)

SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Before police respond to emergencies, there's usually another step that happens first - call is made to a dispatcher.

"You always have to be ready to respond to whatever call you may get. It's very stressful, and I don't think anybody understands that," said Gail Williams-Hockenhull.

A group from the Coast has stepped up to acknowledge the employees of the police department that they say deserve more recognition.

Gail and the others in the small group are all former dispatchers. For them, watching the events in Baton Rouge unfold put them right back in the action.

"You have officers that are screaming for help. You have citizens who are screaming for help, and sometimes it can be overwhelming," said Cindy Myers who used to work with Gail as a dispatcher for the Gulfport Police Department.

Myers says what can make the job even harder is that dispatchers are generally never seen; only heard. She and others in the group say they didn't want the Baton Rouge dispatchers to feel alone.

"We wanted to go show our sympathy for them because we understand how they feel. We just want them to know that they weren't not thought of," said Richard LeNormand, a former dispatcher from Long Beach.

The group came up with an idea to spread the love; filling almost 100 bags with candies, cards, and other goods to show their support.

Realizing the tragic shootings had likely taken a toll on dispatchers, the group drove to Baton Rouge to hand deliver the bags.

For Carla Mayfield, the trip was a chance to continue showing her 9-year-old Joshua the importance of first responders.

"It was nice because of all the thank yous from the people who protect our country," said Joshua.

Tina LeNormand says the group came away from the trip with their hearts full. She believes the Baton Rouge dispatchers understood their message.

"We hear you, we see you, we're here for you, and you're not forgotten," said LeNormand.

This group of former dispatchers hopes to make more care bags. To help out, visit their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/ThinGoldLineMSGC/?fref=ts

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