What is your emergency?

Published 4:32 pm Wednesday, December 12, 2007

By By ZURI KELVER / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Police, firefighters, paramedics, emergency room physicians and nurses are all part of the emergency response team that deals with disaster and tragedy on a daily basis.
The 911 dispatcher, a less visible but equally important member of Niles' Emergency Response Team, was given special recognition last week.
Lorena Lawton, a 22-year veteran of the Niles City Police Department; has received the 911 Advisory Committee to the Berrien County Commissioners Dispatcher of the Year Award for 2007.
Two other dispatchers, Sally Dunlap and Heather Tracy, were also recognized for their dedicated service to the community.
The awards were presented at the commissioner's meeting Dec. 6 in St. Joseph.
Although Lawton admitted she was very surprised to receive the award, according to coworkers she has all the qualities of a model employee.
Tammy Smith, the 911 Data Center Supervisor for the Niles area, said Lawton is a "dependable, hard-worker. She is always there, rarely sick.
"She pitches in to help others," Smith said, adding "she is knowledgeable about the area.
Lawton said the best part of her job is variety. "Everyday is different. You never know what is on the other end of that phone," she said, adding that the most important part of her job is simply listening to people.
In her spare time, Lawton enjoys being with her husband and two daughters at their home in Buchanan.