WATERLOO — During last August’s devastating flash flooding on Lower Lake Road and Lodi Point State Park, Seneca County 911 dispatcher Michele Leonard was on duty to handle the initial calls for help.
Her calm professionalism and quick and informed decision making during that event led to her being chosen by Emergency Management Director Melissa Taylor as the county’s 2018 Dispatcher of the Year.
Taylor and 911 Operations Manager Brandi Godley presented Leonard with the plaque at the May 14 meeting of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors.
Leonard is a supervisor in the 911 Center and has worked for the county 911 program for the past 15 years.
“She is someone who truly leads by example every single day,” Taylor said. “She is well respected and well-liked by her subordinates and her peers. She is being recognized for this award for always having a positive attitude, her involvement with the Sunshine Club, our employee morale club, her willingness to work for and with her co-workers and her supervision during the early morning hours of the August 2018 flood.”
Taylor said that after a handful of calls from panicking homeowners in the flood area, Leonard knew “this was no ordinary event and that some extra action needed to be taken.”
“The all-call button was hit, notifying all fire departments in Seneca County that their assistance was needed in the south end of the county. She notified several other key staff some immediate action could taken,” Taylor said.
“She calmly led the overnight A shift during the most stressful part of the response phase. If it were not for Supervisor Leonard’s quick and informed decision making, the outcome of this already devastating event could have been much worse,” she added.
Taylor and Godley also said a department plaque also was presented to the entire staff of the 911 Center in recognition of their outstanding efforts during the August 2018 flood.
“Dispatchers play an important role in each and every call that comes into the 911 Center. Their hard work, knowledge and ability to handle high stress situations help to keep public safety personnel and the citizens of Seneca County safe,” Taylor said.
“They are the true heroes behind the scenes.”