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Sheila Bringhurst retires as coordinator of Sanpete County 911 dispatch center

Sanpete County Commission Chair Claudia Jarrett addresses the audience at a ceremony honoring Sheila Bringhurst for 21 years of service as the voice of 911 Dispatch. Also standing with Jarrett are Commissioners Steve Lund and Scott Bartholomew.

 

Sheila Bringhurst retires

as coordinator of Sanpete

County 911 dispatch center

 

By James Tilson

Staff writer

Nov. 16, 2017

 

MANTI—On Nov. 6, at the meeting of the Sanpete County Commission, Sheila Bringhurst was honored for her 21 years of service. She was the “voice of comfort” at Sanpete County 911 Dispatch.

Bringhurst  resigned her position earlier this year, because her husband , Gary, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in April. After undergoing treatment, he is now in remission. However, Gary’s crisis impelled Sheila to seek a different position that did not require so much time away from her family.  She now works at Central Utah Counseling in Ephraim, as a nurse, a job with regular hours.

Sheila joined the 911 staff in 1996 when her family moved to Sanpete from Salt Lake City where she’d worked as a nurse. Not many opportunities for nursing were available, so she answered an ad for the 911 position.

Sheila said that the job was “different every day, there was always a new kind of phone call.”  She was able to use her nursing skills and emergency dispatch training to help  911 callers. She used the 911 flip cards, which described emergency procedures for every possible kind of crisis, from bee stings to heart attacks.

Even though Sheila resigned to spend more time with family, she says, “I loved it; I worked with some great people at 911 and the Sanpete County emergency responders were the best.” She stressed her feelings about her job with, “There are some amazing people in this county, and I loved telling them where to go.”

Her daughter, Sharise Bringhurst Taylor, compiled the following description of Sheila’s job: “Dispatchers are the first to take the call and yet the last to know the full outcome; they know the real definition of a “bad day” at work and dedicate their lives to being the calm voice at the other end of the line. That voice in the darkness gives hope to those who really need it. All of this and more define the person and dispatcher Sheila Bringhurst was.”

Sheila remembers an incident that brought home the reality of emergencies that callers face when they call 911. “You never want to answer the line, ‘911 emergency’ and hear the voice on the other end say ‘Mom.’” Her husband had been involved in a serious 4-wheeler wreck, and she took the call from her daughter about his accident.

Sheila says that she’s recognized throughout the county especially when she speaks. She’ll be walking through the local Wal-Mart, and somebody will say, “YOU’RE the voice at 911.”  Recently, when she was in Fairview, Fairview city administrator Dave Taylor’s wife came up to her and said, “You can’t leave, you were the voice of comfort.”