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The 411 on a 911 Crisis

Much accomplished, much left to do


From left, Ben Duncan, Mecklenburg County E-911 Communications Director; Michael Gobble, Region 3 VDEM Regional Coordinator and Sherry Herzing.

by Laura Emery, Staff Writer

It takes time to make big things happen. Sherry Herzing, of Brunswick County, Va., can attest to that.

But Herzing, through the LKG 911 Community Task Force she started three years ago, won’t stop putting in the time and work necessary to address the E-911 crisis in the Lake Gaston area.

As reported in the September 2021 Cooperative Living story, “47 Minutes,” Herzing’s husband of 43 years died of a heart attack after precious minutes were lost when a 911 caller was unable to reach the correct county and state 911 center. We shared how Herzing turned grief into grit and formed the LKG 911 Community Task Force. The story is available at co-opliving.com/316/coversept.

Herzing says the group’s life-saving message is now reaching more citizens through partnerships with community-devoted organizations. Helpful Hands & Hearts of LKG and the Roanoke Valley help supply 911 reflective house numbers where a home access ramp is built, she says. “Brunswick and Warren County leadership have worked to get bridges over Lake Gaston marked with identifying signs so residents and visitors know where they are when they call 911.”

The task force group continues to facilitate meetings between first responder teams in the five counties surrounding Lake Gaston to discuss challenges and best practice solutions, such as proper routing and transfer of 911 calls.

Future initiatives include adopting legislation to reclassify the 911 dispatcher job from clerical to first responder with commensurate benefits and certification, as well as developing solutions to retain volunteer and paid first responders in rural areas.

And though it seems like there is still so much yet to do, Herzing says, “We’ll keep going until we accomplish what needs to be accomplished.”

For more information on the LKG 911 Community Task Force, visit lkgtaskforce.org.