Lester bids E911 farewell after 15 years of service
After serving the Crenshaw County Emergency Communications District, also known as E911, for 15 years, Jane Lester has retired.
According to Lester, to date she is the longest serving individual for the Crenshaw County E911 office, a feat that does not make her leaving any easier.
“It’s just something I had always been interested in, more so the law enforcement side of it than the fire and rescue, but I really enjoyed all of it,” she said.
“I felt like I was helping people, and that made me feel good.”
Lester was born and raised in Barbour County, but after marrying her late husband William Lester of Crenshaw, the two moved to the area where they later had their three children.
She started her work with Crenshaw County’s E911 on Aug. 9, 2001, and has not regretted it since.
When she first started, her job consisted of work as a dispatcher, but in 2006 she was moved to center manager.
“We were at the police department when I started, so I was working with all of them,” she said.
“Then in 2007, we moved to where we are now.”
While her job has given her many fond memories she will cherish in her retirement, she does admit that there is one thing in particular she will miss about her job.
“I’m going to miss my coworkers and the officers and fire and rescue. I’m going to miss all of my friends, but I’m probably going to miss my coworkers the most,” she said.
“I have seen a lot of them come and go since I’ve been there. I’ve been there 15 years and five months. I had been there longer than anybody had every been with Crenshaw County 911.”
In looking back over the day-to-day tasks she encountered, Lester says that her favorite part of the job was the pleasure she received from knowing she made a difference in someone’s life.
“I’ve talked to people who were wanting to kill themselves and you know that they’re just asking for help. I’ve gotten them to calm down and change their attitude about stuff,” she said.
When asked what the most difficult aspect of the job was for her, she noted that it was tough on her to not know the outcome of more drastic calls.
“I think that job helped me to deal with death better,” she said.
Now with her days of retirement ahead of her, Lester plans to take some much-needed time to herself to relax and be with her family.
While her coworkers are sad to see her go, they are also glad that she will now have the opportunity to relax.
“Ms. Jane has been an extremely dedicated, hardworking part of our agency for over 15 years. Her immeasurable service to the citizens of Crenshaw County is greatly appreciated and will surely be missed,” said Scott Stricklin, director for E911.
“It takes a very special kind of person to perform the job our operators do. She has been just that to us, a very special person that we shall miss, but we wish her all the best in her retirement.”
To those preparing to enter this field, Lester’s passes on some sobering advice.
“They need to realize that it’s not just a job. People’s lives are on the line every day. They don’t need to think that it’s just a job. It’s a very rewarding opportunity to help people in the community and to better themselves,” she said.
“It was the opportunity of a lifetime to me to get to do that line of work. I really enjoyed it, but I’ve been working since I was 15, so it’s time to enjoy some life.”