HANCOCK COUNTY — It wasn’t a day she was looking forward to but it ended with a celebration cake, plenty of phone calls, hugs and lots of smiles. After 22 years as an emergency dispatcher, including the last 13 in Hancock County, Cindy Carver retired from the local 9-1-1 emergency service at the beginning of the month.
Carver, 53, Greenfield, however will still be around the community. She started a new job this week as an economic development administrative assistant for the county commissioner’s office. Now she just needs to learn how to let go and turn off the old job, something she’s found isn’t as easy to do after decades of constantly rendering aid to those in need as a dispatcher.
“It’s been kind of bitter sweet driving past the dispatch center, which I do all the time, and it is super real at this point that it’s over,” Carver said. “But, I still have pulse point on my phone and saw there was a structure fire just a few minutes ago so I’ve just got to figure out the balance of wanting to know everything going on, because that really isn’t what I want anymore.”
Carver knows it’s going to be different letting go of a highly stressful job where she not only helped thousands of people get the help they needed, but also developed strong relationships with staff as well as first responders.
“The dispatchers job is a hard one,” Carver said. “After years of listening to some of the things I’ve heard and had to deal with the things that happen on a 9-1-1 call, it’s a good time for me to move onto something else.”
Carver noted she’s at a point in her life where she needed something less stressful, a chance to get away from the everyday troubles that come with every 9-1-1 call.
“It’s a constant thing, the pressure at 9-1-1 and some days you don’t even realize you’re stressed because you’re always stressed,” Carver said. “Now it’s just a matter for me to learn how to turn that off… I just think someone 25 is going to do the job a lot better than I can now.”
Public information officer for the center, Greg Duda said losing experienced people like Carver is always tough since experience is not something new people can train for.
“You have to be in this seat and take a wide range of calls to be comfortable in your decision making and confident in your work,” he said. “Someone like Cindy brings a lot of knowledge and speed to your shift.”
Duda said officials at the center always knew Carver was going to do the right thing at the right time and call the right people, experience which is huge in the 9-1-1 profession.
Duda’s most memorable moment working with Carver came May 1, 2018.
“Cindy, myself and another dispatcher were working a very busy afternoon, wondering what else could happen – when it did,” Duda said. “In the midst of everything I took a call from a 7 year old boy who said his grandma was dead and he didn’t know the address.”
Duda got Carver involved in the call and gave her the address that came up on his grandmother’s Smart911 profile. Carver was able to get officers there while Duda talked to the little boy and got the fire department en route.
“It was our agency’s first Smart911 save and a day that I don’t think any of us would forget,” Duda said.
Carver started her career working for dispatch in Indianapolis, then went to the airport dispatch center before making her way to the county 9-1-1 dispatch offices for more than a decade. During her time she’s been recognized as one of the tops in the field including the “Best of Hancock County 1st Responder” category during state awards and last month she was given the Rotary Club of Greenfield’s Hancock County Heroes award for her service as a dispatcher.
Carver said it’s been great to see all the new technology coming into the dispatch business that will help make a dispatcher’s job a little easier. However she noted so much more goes into making sure people get a first responder when needed than people think.
“People who are not familiar with what we do have no idea what we have to go through,” she said.
Part of Carver’s last day included several phone calls with people she’s worked with through the years including Mayor Chuck Fewell and former Attorney General Curtis Hill.
“My co-workers made my last day so special,” she said. “We had a cake and there were flowers delivered and I got calls from so many people including the fire department and emails and texts.”
Carver said it’s been a honor to have helped the citizens of Hancock County for 13 years and she’ll miss her dispatch family more than anyone will ever know.
She also feels fortunate to have worked with what she called the best dispatchers in the state while working with the county dispatch center and she appreciates all the care her co-workers showed during her time there.
“People used to just forget about dispatchers, but it’s a lot different now,” Carver said. “We watch out for each other a lot.”
The director of the Hancock County Emergency Operations Center, John Jokantas said Carver will be missed.
“Thirteen years of service to our community made a positive impact on countless lives, and our dispatchers are grateful to have worked alongside someone like Cindy all these years,” he said.