At the Feb. 5 Ford County commissioners meeting, Elliott Linke, director of Ford County Emergency Communications, presented a meritorious service award to dispatcher Grace Gonzales for her role in guiding a worried father through delivering his child.

Near the end of her shift Jan. 29, Gonzales received an emergency call from an expectant father panicking because his wife was about to give birth in their home.

Linke said that Gonzales calmed the frantic man and guided him through the steps of the delivery.

"Her calm, cool demeanor was clearly evident on the recordings," Linke said. "She contributed greatly to a safe childbirth for both the mother and baby."

The child was born with the umbilical cord around its neck, impairing its breathing. Gonzales was able to identify the situation over the phone and guide the father through a potentially life-saving maneuver to remove the cord from the baby's neck.

Gonzales received the call just one week after completing the emergency medical dispatch training, according to Katie Rosser, deputy director at Ford County Emergency Communications.

“Child birth is rare but we get CPR calls and other emergency calls,” Rosser said, “but typically not as intense as Grace’s.”

Gonzales said the call was a gratifying experience.

“I’m so thankful for my job with Ford County,” she said. “I love what I do.”

The child was later examined at the hospital and given a full bill of health.

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