Whether providing life-saving help or getting a better return for taxpayers' dollars, there are county workers who go largely unseen by the public.
The county recently recognized some of them for the job they do.
During the Columbia County Board of Commissioners' meeting earlier this month, county officials recognized their Employee of the Year and Team of the Year for 2003.
A committee of county workers from various departments vote on the designation.
The county's 911 Communications Center, which operates as part of the sheriff's office, was named the county's Team of the Year.
"When all of you go home tonight, these folks won't be - they'll be the ones that are awake while you are asleep," Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle said during the recognition ceremony. "If something happens to you during the middle of the night, God forbid, and you dial 911, you're going to be talking to one of these people."
The team at the 911 Center in Appling members work 12-hour shifts in a windowless room because of security reasons.
The center fields calls for help and relays them out to police, fire and emergency medical authorities.
In 2002, the center received nearly 53,800 calls for service, about 87,000 calls from police officers and more than 5,700 emergency medical service calls, according to the sheriff's office Web site.
"We never see them, we only talk to them on the phone," Whittle said about the dispatch team. "But they are your lifeline."
Gail Kennedy has strived over the decades to be a steward of the water works department's money, earning her the designation of the county's Employee of the Year for 2003
Kennedy, an accounting coordinator, has worked for the department for 25 years.
"When Gail came to us, we didn't have a good accounting office - it was a little lax," said Billy Clayton, director of the county's water and sewer services division. "Gail brought integrity to our organization. So I looked integrity up in the dictionary to see what it says, and it says, 'a strict adherence to a standard or value.'
"When you're messing with somebody else's money you better be strict."
Kennedy said she was in shock about receiving the honor while thanking her co-workers.
"I'm very grateful that fellow employees mentioned my name for this honor," she said.
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