911 Board honors Lucas Grupe Tuesday

Lucas Grupe of Watson arrives at the Effingham County Office Building in an Effingham Fire Department fire engine for the Effingham County 911 Board meeting held Tuesday afternoon. Pictured from left, EFD Lieutenant John Kronewitter, Grupe and EFD Firefighter Lucas Kroening.

Tuesday was a special day for a Watson boy who received a special achievement award by the Effingham County 911 Board.

Lucas Grupe pulled up to the Effingham County Office Building inside a fire engine manned by members of the Effingham Fire Department. Grupe was helped off the engine by EFD Lieutenant John Kronewitter and EFD Firefighter Lucas Kroening.

Grupe then got a chance to see where he made a call to Effingham County Sheriff’s Department Assistant Telecommunicator Supervisor Alysa Kilman, who was on duty June 6 – the day after Grupe’s eleventh birthday. His mother, Cindy Grupe, told her son to call 911 when she thought she was having a heart attack.

After seeing where he made his call, Grupe was led to the Effingham County Board room, where members of the Effingham County 911 were waiting to present him a special recognition.

Effingham County 911 Board Chairman Julie Stephens read a proclamation recognizing Grupe with a 911 Achievement Award.

Stephens, Grupe and Kilman stood before the board while Stephens read the proclamation recognizing Grupe for knowing when to call 911 and knowing important information such as a name, address and phone number that Kilman could use to get the right help to the right place.

“My mom thought she was having a heart attack. She had me call 911 and help came,” Lucas Grupe said. “I was feeling a little bit scared.”

Grupe said the Watson Fire Protection District arrived with a rescue truck before the ambulance arrived.

911 Board honors Lucas Grupe Tuesday

Effingham County 911 Board Chairman Julie Stephens, right, presents a 911 Achievement Award Tuesday afternoon to Lucas Grupe of Watson, center, during the Effingham County 911 Board meeting. Pictured from left, Effingham County Sheriff’s Department Assistant Telecommunicator Supervisor Alysa Kilman, Grupe and Stephens.

“We get so many people who call in and don’t know exactly where they are located,” Kilman said. “Lucas knew everything from the address, knew his mom’s age… He knew it all.”

In addition to the 911 Achievement Award, Lucas Grupe received a gift basket.

A list of what information parents should teach their children in case they have to call 911 for an emergency can be found on the Effingham County 911 board website: 911effinghamcounty.org/kids-corner

In another matter, Effingham County Sheriff’s Department Telecommunicator Supervisor Tina Daniels asked board members to consider a 4-week telecommunicator training program through The Public Safety Group. Effingham City Police Department Communications Manager Billie Bales and Daniels thought the training would be beneficial basic telecommunicator training for new hires.

Daniels said The Public Safety Group offered the course for $399 per person and discounted to $359 per person if a group of four were trained at the same time. She worked it out with PSG to pay in advance and when a group of 4 new hires are ready they can take the training at the same time.

She said Bales had been checking into a leadership certification class and found one for $1,000.

“Training kind of suffered this year because of COVID. We haven’t been able go anywhere for training,” Daniels told the board.

Board members unanimously approved a telecommunicator training course for four telecommunicators for a total of $1,436 and leadership training for Effingham City Police Department Communications Manager Billie Bales for $1,000.

Effingham Police Chief Jason McFarland presented a proposal he earlier discussed with the City and County communications supervisors Bales and Daniels to create a new Facebook page for the 911 Board.

“The purpose of this would be education (about the 911 board) they are not getting in the schools and not reaching young people. It would be a good way to communicate with the community as to what is going on with the 911 board,” McFarland said. “The page would be moderated by both Billie and Tina on behalf of the board.”

“I think it’s a zero cost, huge gain as far as what we could provide the public,” McFarland said.

“There is so much information we could get out to people,” Bales said.

Bales said having a Facebook page would help get the word out about Text 911 and Rapid SOS for setting up an emergency profile.

Effingham County 911 Board Chairman Julie Stephens said she would like to look at their current website to determine whether or not they wanted to link the site to the Facebook page.

Board members also approved liability insurance renewal plan with payment to be approved at the next 911 Board meeting and approved a FY 2021 budget lay over until the Nov. meeting. The Effingham County fiscal year begins Dec. 1.

Charles Mills can be reached at charles.mills@effinghamdailynews.com or by phone at 217-347-7151 ext. 126.

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Reporter/Videographer

Charles Mills is reporter and videographer for the Effingham Daily News. A 1983 graduate of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, he worked as senior video editor for a Nashville television station. He is a native of Vandalia.

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