Imagine the panic of an emergency situation.
A car wreck, a fire, a heart attack. And then having to pause to look up the number for emergency services.
Director of Hamblen County 911 Emergency Communications Jimmy Peoples remembers a time like that.
But as he prepares to retire after more than 20 years at his post, he'll leave behind a cutting-edge department.
Community members celebrated his service at the public library on Friday.
Peoples cut his teeth on the Morristown Rescue Squad and remained a member for more than 50 years before the consolidated 911 communications center was formed in 1990.
State Homeland Security Adviser David Purkey attended the event. He says Peoples mentored him on the rescue squad. Purkey also spent 16 years as Hamblen County mayor.
He marveled at Peoples' pioneering.
"Any paramedic in the state you ask, they'll be able to tell you their license number," said Purkey.
His for example his is 6267, signifying he was the 6,267th paramedic to be licensed in the state.
Peoples' license number is 92.
"Jimmy was on the cutting edge of that training," said Purkey.
Peoples' career has held many highlights.
He says one of the best moments was when officials surprised him by naming the west side substation in his honor in 2008.
But he says he also takes pride in each 911 call placed by a young child.
"One thing that might stick with me as much as anything, how many great calls we have gotten from young children," said Peoples. "Four, five, six years old. Their mother or daddy, something's happened. And they're able to tell us what we need to know."
Purkey presented Peoples with an Award of Merit from Governor Haslam at the ceremony.
At the conclusion, he counted some advice given to him.
"Remember that a lot of people go through life leaving their mark. A lot of people just go through life," Purkey told the crowd. "Jimmy Peoples has left his mark on this community and this state."