Pictured, from left, are commission president Sam Nolte, telecommunicator Amanda Atkinson, telecommunicator Stephanie Jack, E911 Upshur Comm Center Director Doyle Cutright, E911 Upshur Comm Center Assistant Director Kimbra Wachob, telecommunicator Yvette Squires, telecommunicator Paris Wilson and commissioners Kristie Tenney and Terry Cutright.

BUCKHANNON – Upshur County on Thursday became just the second county in the state to recognize E911 telecommunicators as first responders.

At the commission’s meeting Thursday, Upshur County E911 Communication Center Director Cutright said he brought up the idea to Upshur County Administrator Carrie Wallace at their annual meeting.

“This all really stems from a national movement. There is a national movement right now on the Hill in Washington, DC,” Cutright said. “It’s House Resolution Bill 1629, which was introduced by Senator Torrez, a Democrat, out of California and Senator Fitzpatrick out of Pennsylvania, who’s Republican, so it’s a bipartisan bill to formally recognize 911 telecommunicators at the federal level as first responders.”

He said he told Wallace that it was also important for 911 telecommunicators to be recognized at a local level.

“When I brought this up to Carrie, I said, ‘it would be really nice for us to be locally recognized, because 911 in my opinion, starts locally,” Cutright said. “We are part of these communities. We assist our law enforcement, fire, EMS every day, so it really warms my heart.”

He said 911 telecommunicators are classified as secretaries now.

“Currently we are classified as secretaries, which is, in my opinion, a great disgrace to what we do every day,” Cutright said. “Senator Torrez was actually a former telecommunicator in California and Senator Fitzpatrick was an FBI agent and he was also a federal prosecutor, so they had a lot of interactions with 911 telecommunicators.”

Cutright said he is proud of Upshur County for being the second county in the state to recognize 911 telecommunicators as first responders.

“It really gives me a great sense of pride that you guys support us to the level of proclaiming us as first responders, and it makes me even more proud that we’re at the forefront of this in the state of West Virginia,” Cutright said. “To date, there is only one other county that has formally recognized 911 telecommunicators as first responders, and that is Kanawha County.”

Upshur Comm Center Assistant Director Kimbra Wachob said she appreciated the Upshur County Commission’s support.

“I would just like to thank the county commission for the continued support of our 911 center,” she said. “Our employees know what they do every day and what they go through and it helps me to know that you guys see that also. We just want to thank you guys for your support.”