Public safety agencies nationwide recognized telecommunications workers and dispatchers last week for the pivotal role they play in public safety.

Linwood Lothrop, director of Knox Regional Communications, told employees, "just your voice on the other end of the phone is reassurance that help is on the way. You are the calming voice for the public when they are faced with personal tragedy. It could be a mother reporting a lost child, a medical emergency or a elderly lady who feels personally violated by a burglary. You manage to calm the caller down through your words and provide the vital public safety response in a timely manner."

Gov. Paul LePage said public safety telecommunications are heroes and true professionals who deserve recognition for their important work.

The following employees were recognized for their service:

Supervisor Stephanie Gibbs, 16 years, Supervisor Melissa Simmons 14 years, Robert Coombs 13 years, Bryan Calderwood 12 years, John Gamage 10 years, Melissa Olson 7 years, Matthew Ballou 5 years, Renee Grover 4 years, Jerrad Dinsmore 2 years, Brian Allen, Elizabeth Richuie, Michelle Niemi.

Gamage and Calderwood were nominated by Knox Regional Communications Supervisor Gibbs for the Critical Incident of the Year Award for their handling of communications during Aug. 11 fatal crash in Port Clyde, where a 9-year-old child was killed and three others seriously injured.

Gamage was also nominated to receive the silent hero award.