Brownwood’s 9-1-1 dispatchers hosted an informal party and received some well-deserved accolades Friday afternoon as they welcomed friends, family members and first responders to the dispatch center to celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.

As they do every year to celebrate the week, dispatchers displayed elaborate decorations that temporarily transform the dispatch center into another world. This week has been an ocean theme – more specifically, “Rough Waters,” a nod to the often unseen underwater world where dispatchers do their work.

“Everything under water is what keeps it going,” dispatcher Jonna Dodd said. “We are under water the entire time. We keep everything together through hurricanes ...”

Dodd and other dispatchers made decorations that include pirate ships, coral reefs, jellyfish and even a shark cage.

The dispatch center is never closed, and a party is always a working party as dispatchers continued to answer phones and communicate via radio with first responders on the streets.

“The phone could ring any second,” Brownwood Police Chief Terry Nichols said as he began explaining the significance of the celebration. “This week’s all about you. Thank you for everything that you do. I hope you know that you’re near and dear to our hearts, you keep the men and women out there on the streets safe and for the citizens, you’re that first point of contact.

“We talk about that all the time, how you are that first responder. You answer the phone, you’re the first voice people call … like right now,” Nichols said as a dispatch phone rang. “So thank you for what you do. This week is made for you.”