590 FOREVER CONTRIBUTOR JOE KLAPATCH RETIRES FROM 911
I remember from my media classes at King's College, especially a newswriting class that was taught by the great WARM newsman, Jerry Heller, that at the end of a news story, a reporter would generally type -30-, which signaled the end of the story.
Tonight, or this morning, I will write " 20+" as that signals my retirement from working at 911, for 20+ years. I cannot write -30- as the story is not done, just another chapter. In the past 20+ years, I have had the privilege of working with a number of great people...as I mentioned tonite, I worked with dispatcher #1, the late Jane Ayres through #172. There were good times and not so good. There have been a number of those telecommunicators who are no longer with us that I had the opportunity to work with. Paul McGowan, Linda Smith, Bob Brower and Jane, just to name a few.
After I left work tonight, I headed to the scene of the final call I worked, three teens that got lost in the woods. I would not hang up until the rescuers from Greenwood, Taylor and Duryea, reached them. It wasn't only me, as usual, it was a team effort at work, but I spent the time at the end making sure they were located. Shortly after I arrived, the rescuers drove into the staging area with the teens, who were visibly scared but had smiles on their faces. What a way to wrap up 20 plus years.
As far as dispatching, that chapter is closed, except for continuing to work with a great bunch of people with Pennsylvania APCO, which is an organization for dispatchers. The statewide chapter is part of an organization that represents dispatchers worldwide. Besides working with them for years, I have been honored with being named Line Supervisor of the Year by them several years ago and last year, I was awarded a life membership award. I have the honor of being only one of about a dozen people statewide to have had this honor bestowed on them, and until tonight, was the only one or one of the few, who were not retired.
I start a new path soon as I will be able to help people in another way. I was notified yesterday that I will be working in the research department of the Albright Library, specializing in local history. It's a path which I am eagerly awaiting to go down. I will also continue to try to document the histories of all of the fire companies in Lackawanna County. This is probably more that I have posted on here in this single post, than I have if you combined all of my posts since joining facebook. Don't worry, it will not become a habit.