Gainesville dispatcher Laura Polmateer’s lifesaving actions for an old friend made her a recent award recipient during the annual Texoma Regional 911 Telecommunicators Banquet in Sherman.
Polmateer underwent surgery in December 2019 to donate her kidney to someone she has been friends with since “at least” junior high school and was honored with a lifesaving award at the Texoma Council of Governments’ Feb. 27 dinner.
Gainesville Police Chief Kevin Phillips said her award was unique because it wasn’t for something she did on the job, which is typically why a telecommunicator receives the award.
“She’s a really good employee,” Phillips said of Polmateer.
Polmateer said she watched her old friend who lives in Kaufman County go through dialysis on social media and decided to reach out to him in March 2019.
“I put myself in his mom’s shoes,” the mother of a 13-year-old boy said of her reasoning to help out.
She said when she learned their blood type matched she began the process to become a donor. Polmateer said she was approved in September 2019 and was in the hospital on New Year’s Eve.
“Fireworks from the hospital window were great,” she said.
Polmateer was one of two Gainesville dispatchers who were award recipients at the banquet.
Janet Simpson received the Silent Hero Award for the second year in row. The award recognizes exceptional professionalism and performance that inspires others.
“I was very honored to be considered for the award,” Simpson said.
Phillips said being a telecommunicator is a tough job.
“She [Janet] has a really positive attitude about it all,” Phillips said.
The TCOG banquet also honored two Cooke County Sheriff’s Office dispatchers.
Amanda King and Brittnee Hielckert were Life-Saving Award recipients stemming from a call on Nov. 26, 2019, when an 87-year-old man reported he had been run over by his tractor, according to a call sheet from the CCSO.
A news release from Cooke County Sheriff Terry Gilbert states King and Hielckert worked as a team to keep the man calm while dispatching help. A few days later, the women were commended for their work by a family member, according to the release.
King and Hielckert declined to be interviewed, Gilbert told the Register.
“I am very proud of these ladies,” Gilbert said. “Their dedication and professionalism should make all of Cooke County residents both proud and confident that the sheriff’s office is here to protect and serve them in any manner necessary.”