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By David Knopf/Richmond News
It wasn’t long after Nathan Preston went to work in Branson as a part-time emergency medical technician that he was approached about a new job.
“One of my friends said you ought to apply for that full-time position in dispatch,” said Preston, now the energetic director of Ray County 911.
Preston wasn’t really eager to give up the stimulation of working in the field, but he took the advice and applied. He got the job, and 24 years later he’s still working indoors.
Last week, it was obvious he’d made the right decision. Preston and Judge David Miller met in the judge’s chambers so Preston could be sworn in as a member of the Missouri State Advisory Board for 911 Oversight. He’ll serve a four-year term on a board that monitors 911 communications and other operations issues with representatives from law enforcement and telecom organizations such as AT&T and Verizon.
When he took that first dispatching job, Preston demonstrated he was the right man for the duties. That was also the case when he moved on to Springfield to take a job with a larger agency, a two-year stint that ended with a phone call from an old friend and mentor back in Branson.
“My mentor, Kent Vanderpool, called me and said he had a supervisor’s position open and would like me to apply,” said Preston.
He took the post in Branson, serving two years before replacing Vanderpool as communications manager. He had that job – a major in charge of EMS operations – when the Ray County 911 Board hired him to oversee a joint operation that includes Richmond’s police and fire departments, Ray County Sheriff’s Department and other public-safety agencies in the county.