A 10-year veteran of Benton County Emergency Services was honored Tuesday as the 2012 Dispatcher of the Year.
Karin Pederson was praised in front of friends, family and co-workers during a ceremony at the Southeast Communications Center in Richland. Pederson helped field some of the almost 357,200 calls that came into the dispatch center last year.
"Its a very big honor," she said after receiving a night's stay at the Clover Island Inn in Kennewick and dinner for two as part of her reward. "I am very proud they chose me. It's a little overwhelming."
Communications Manager James Barber said Pederson has displayed professionalism and hard work throughout her time as a dispatcher.
He said being a dispatcher mostly is a thankless job that allows people the chance to help others in times of need.
"I would opt to say most people don't think about (dispatchers) until they need them," he said. "We have a very professional group and Karin is one of them. She is a spectacular performer."
Pederson said there isn't one call in particular that stands out in her time at the dispatch center, but she said the opportunity to help people is what keeps her working year after year.
"A lot of times people don't remember the voices they are talking to," she said. "We know they are grateful for our help. It does mean a lot to us to help them."
The dispatch center receives an average of 1,156 calls a day and fielded 84,908 emergency-related calls in 2012, Barber said.
-- Tyler Richardson: 582-1556; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @Ty_richardson