Nov. 6—TRAVERSE CITY — For as long as Andrea Holczman can remember, she wanted to work as a first responder and help people.
Last week, Holczman was honored by the First Responders Children’s Foundation in New York City on Oct. 28 — First Responders Day — with an award recognizing her for her service as a 911 dispatcher in Grand Traverse County.
She said, “It was incredible.”
John McPeake, her dad, said Holczman had been nominated from Leelanau County by a corrections officer for her work in successfully delivering a baby via phone.
She said that she rarely hears a happy ending on most of her calls. With this call — which ultimately won her the award — she said it was nice to hear a baby’s cries when it was all over.
Holczman stated that it was “the highlight of my career.”
The award also included a trip to New York City with other winners from across the country. Jillian Crane CEO, FRCF, said Holczman was one the two Michigan first responders to be honored.
Crane explained that this was the second year First Responders Day has been celebrated and that it is the first year they have presented awards to first responders from outside New York City.
Crane explained that they were searching for 911 dispatchers outside New York. She was looking for someone who has been serving her community and could be honored as a representative for all 911 dispatchers.
Gladys Mitchell was the first honoree of last year. She is a NYPD 911 dispatcher and picked up the first 911 call on 9/11.
The FRCF was created after 9/11 in order to support the children of the first responders who were killed during the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center.
Holczman visited New York City this was her first visit. She saw the 9/11 Memorial Museum and rode in a New York Police Department Boat. Then she walked around Times Square.
After graduating from high school, Holczman moved first to Traverse City in 2003. Her father was a military man and she spent most of her childhood traveling. She said that she returned to the area in 2006 after a short stint downstate.
She said, “This is where my life has been the longest.” It’s home now.
She began working as a dispatcher on November 2007 and is now in her 15th year.
Holczman explained that he knew he wanted to be in an emergency service.
Munson Medical Center was her current job and she “has been there every since.”
She said, “There are definitely calls that have stuck with me through the years.” “The one about childbirth is going to stick with us because it’s a positive one.”
September 27 was the day she received her first call for her shift. It came from a mom who was sitting next to her daughter in labor. The Honda Pilot was pulled over in Mayfield Township. She walked grandma through labor and gave birth to a healthy baby girl over the phone.
She says that she was inspired to become a first-responder by her dad’s example of service as a military family member growing up.
She recalled that my dad and mom had always believed that anyone who can do it, should do it. “Don’t stand still and watch.”
McPeake, her father, stated that he and Annette are extremely proud of their daughter.
McPeake stated that “I believe that 9-1-1 operators have been overlooked when it comes down to first responders, because they’re those who direct the people out on the ground.”
Crane stated that she felt Holczman’s compassion and care when she first met her in New York City.
Crane stated, “They are the lifeline of the cities they live because they bring the right help to those who need it in an urgent situation.” “You don’t see them, but they are there when you need them.”
Corey Lecureux (Colleague at Grand Traverse Central Dispatch), said that Holczman is deserving of the recognition. Lecureux explained that Holczman also trains many new dispatchers.
Lecureux stated that “when she called in Kingsley that earned her this recognition, it wasn’t one of a flood of examples of her doing her very best job day-in-and-day-out.” “She is always reliable, and that’s what she has been for over 15 years.”
He stated that she kept track of all her assignments at work and all other activities at the office.
Holczman says that outside of work she loves spending time with her kids, her dogs and her chickens to unwind from a long shift.
She also said that she loves “getting outside in the quiet and peace” and going hiking, camping, and hunting with her loved ones.
Holczman stated that “I don’t see myself doing any other job.” “I joke about looking for a new job, but at this point I can’t see myself doing anything else.”