‘Stranded’ visitor made honorary emergency dispatcher

Jean Murray was made an honorary emergency dispatcher by the Cordova Police Department for her birthday. (June 24, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

March 9, Jean Murray came to Cordova to spend four weeks with her daughter. Three months later, that four-week visit is still going on, as Cordova has become a refuge from the coronavirus outbreaks and civil unrest that have manifested in parts of the Lower 48.

For Murray, the last few months have furnished an unexpected opportunity to connect with Cordova’s natural environment and its people.

“The people are very cordial,” Murray said. “I think very highly of the caliber of the people here. They’re genuine, good people.”

Murray’s daughter, June James, joined the Cordova Police Department as an emergency dispatch administrator in November 2019. As Murray’s Wednesday, June 24 birthday approached, Police and Fire Chief Mike Hicks suggested a “bring your mom to work” event to help liven up Murray’s stay. This idea quickly evolved into a surprise birthday party held at the police station, during which Murray was made an honorary emergency dispatcher for the day. At the event, Hicks presented Murray with a Copper River Fleece emergency dispatcher uniform vest embroidered with Murray’s name.

“It’s overwhelming,” said an appreciative Murray.

Murray said she expects to miss Hicks, along with the other helpful and courteous residents of Cordova, when she leaves — whenever that may be.