December 28, 2008

Chicago dispatchers save Christmas

Chicago's 911 dispatchers say they rescued Christmas this year for a family whose distraught grandmother had called for help.

Shirley Bell, 61, called 911 Christmas Eve morning for her very upset 8-year-old grandson, Malik Parish, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Sunday.

"It was something about that grandmother's voice, and that child and his

candidness. He said, 'I don't have any toys for Christmas,'" said 911 dispatcher Pamela Jenkins.

Bell, who has custody of five children, said she recently suffered a stroke and a heart attack, and support checks from the state had not arrived.

Jenkins alerted co-workers and dispatched police officers, who found a nice, clean home without a single sign of Christmas, the Sun-Times reported.

Within hours, the 911 dispatchers and their families had gathered $200 for new presents to go with nice toys and clothes donated by their own children, Jenkins said. Malik got a G.I. Joe and a PlayStation 1 and groceries were delivered to his family Christmas Day.

There are countless times we want to help,'' Jenkins said. I enjoyed it, and I wished we could help people more than we do.''