A dispatcher for the Iowa State Patrol will be honored today as Iowa Telecommunicator of the Year for her efforts late last year to stop a man from killing himself. Communications Specialist Mary Ryan says the man called on December 24th to report where to find a dead body — his own.Ryan lives in Hiawatha and works at the Cedar Rapids Communications Center. She says she talked with the man on his cellular phone for three hours, determined what vehicle he was in, where he was located — and that he had a shotgun. The man eventually put down the weapon, got out of the truck and accepted the help of law officers & counseling professionals waiting nearby.Ryan says she got a shock at work a few days after the lengthy call. The despondent man telephoned again and asked to talk to her and thanked her for her persistence in helping him on Christmas Eve.Ryan has worked for the Highway Patrol as a radio communicator since 1978. She says what she did last Christmas Eve was nothing out of the ordinary — it was just part of the job — but she’s very honored to receive today’s award. The ceremony is at 1 p-m in Urbandale.
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