911 Center dedicated to Michael, MacDonald

Commissioner Sean Forney speaks at the 911 Center dedication on May 5. Pictured, from left, are Alex MacDonald, Barbara Michael, John Michael, Commissioner Joel Tuttle and Forney.

Alex MacDonald, center, delivers a speech during the dedication of Morgan County’s 911 center last Wednesday in his honor and in memory of the late Dave Michael. Pictured, from left, are Commissioner Joel Tuttle, MacDonald, Barbara and John Michael.

Morgan County’s 911 Center was officially dedicated last Wednesday, May 5 during an outdoor ceremony that honored two men closely tied to emergency communications in the county.

County officials unveiled a wooden sign naming the facility the Michael-MacDonald 911 Center. A more permanent metal plaque will be installed by the county soon.

The center was named in part for the late Dave Michael, the county’s longtime 911 and Emergency Services director. Michael spearheaded the county’s build-out of radio towers and equipment to improve emergency  communications in every corner of the county. Michael’s mother, Barbara Michael and his brother John Michael represented the family at the Wednesday ceremony.

The center’s name also honors the contributions of Alex MacDonald, a South Morgan firefighter and resident who has advised the county and various emergency agencies with his radio tower and communications expertise. MacDonald was instrumental in building an interoperability system for Morgan County that allowed local emergency and disaster officials to communicate easily with their counterparts in other jurisdictions.

Until recently, MacDonald, now 94, continued to climb radio towers in the county to service emergency communications equipment.

He has served on the county’s communications committee, 911 Advisory Board and several other groups as a volunteer expert for more than two decades.

Morgan County Commissioner Sean Forney said MacDonald’s expertise surpasses most.

“I learned very early on that Alex is better at all technology than I am,” Forney said.

MacDonald said his involvement with the county started more than 23 years ago with a phone call to South Morgan Chief Miller, who told him, “Maybe you could join the Department and help out regarding radio matters.”

“Fast forward, Morgan County now has a technically configured E911 communication industry state-of-the-art system installed and operated under the guidance of director Mr. Ronald Mason and his staff.

“During the majority of years that I was involved with the previous dispatch system iterations, I had the good fortune to work with Mr. David Michael, a truly dedicated individuals regarding implementation of the past Morgan County public safety radio dispatching systems, thus I consider it an honor to be associated with Dave’s name today,” said MacDonald.

“May he rest in peace know his dedication to his work ethic provided significant steps forward regarding what is now used daily by the men and women dedicated to serving the needs associated with the implementation of the law, fire, and medical services to the citizens of Morgan County.”

“I’ve had both the pleasure and the stress of working with Alex MacDonald and Dave Michael,” said Commissioner Bill Clark, who hired Michael as OES director.

“His goal was to map every street, every road in the county,” Clark said.

He said the dedication of the center to the two men was apt.

“All the unsung people who do stuff for the county – this is who this is for,” said Clark.

911 Director Ron Mason and Commissioner Joel Tuttle credited the two men with planning and moving the county toward the kind of 911 center now in operation in the county.

Fire, police and EMS vehicles lined Fairfax Street in front of the Michael-MacDonald 911 Center for the ceremony.