ROGERSVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) – Hawkins County dispatcher Suzanne Paxton was preparing for a shift change when she took an early morning phone call.
On the other end of the line was a mother going into labor.
“You just answer the call,” said Paxton. “You don’t ever know what it’s going to be. And on the other end was the caller and she said ‘I think I’m going into labor.”
Paxton proceeded to walk the caller through the process, calling upon her training for this exact situation. While the training did prepare her, Paxton said she was also ready to go off-script.
“There’s questions that we’re supposed to ask,” said Paxton. “But you never know where it’s going to go. So sometimes you have to kind of go with the call and base your questions on what’s happening at the moment.”
Throughout the call, Paxton chose to remind the caller that they weren’t going through this alone.
“I reassured her that she wasn’t alone,” said Paxton. “Because I’m sure she felt that way at the moment, and that I was there with her.”
After ending the call, Paxton said she found herself feeling a sense of joy.
“I was smiling and happy for her,” said Paxton. “And it was the sweetest thing. We all, I think, kind of shed a tear. So obviously it was a happy day. It made my whole day.”
Because of her work, Paxton received a Stork Award. The award is given to first responders who assist with an out-of-hospital delivery of a baby. Paxton said she had no idea how special the award truly was.
“Once in a lifetime, or career call,” said Paxton. “And for some, not even once in a lifetime.”
In a release sent out by the Hawkins County Emergency Communications District, Executive Director Lynn Campbell said Paxton “is a fine example of the excellent service provided every day by all the communications specialists at the Hawkins County 911 Center.”