A retirement celebration was held last Tuesday night at the Clay Jones Community Center in Durant to honor Ballew and her many years of service. Durant Police, along with Chief Roger Joines of the Durant Fire Department, and Joe Barrett of Bryan County Emergency Medical Services, were present to wish her well. Attendees were treated to dinner and a special tribute filled with funny stories and memories of Sue and her time with Durant Communications Center.
Durant Police Chief Durward Cook presented a plaque to Ballew in honor of her dedication to the department and incredible work throughout the years.
It all began September 10, 1989, when Ballew made the decision to join the Reserves as a dispatcher. She chose to do so as something to do in her spare time. She first began as a one night a week dispatcher and volunteered where she was needed other times. Then in 1993, after a full-time position became available, Ballew reluctantly took the job. In 2001, she became a supervisor after the retirement of dispatcher, Steve Robinson.
Ballew looks back on her time with fondness and even calls everyone she worked with family. Thinking back on her 17 years as a communications center dispatcher, no one memory stands out above the rest. “There are just too many to count,” she said. “There were so many fun times. I liked my job. It was challenging, and every day was different. Every time the phone rang you don’t know what to expect.”
But it is the people Ballew will miss most. “I’ll miss working with the dispatchers and officers,” she said. Not only the officers, but the community as well. She said she’ll miss making the person on the other end of the line comfortable and at ease.
Although she’ll miss her job, Ballew looks forward to what retirement has in store. She has filled her plans with some much deserved rest and relaxation, along with extra family time and travel. “I can go whenever I want to go,” Ballew said.
The police department recalls fond memories of her and expresses how much they’ll miss seeing her around the office, and hearing her voice over the radio, but all wish her well in her new endeavors of retirement.