Dennis Tippett, former 9-1-1 dispatcher, was given a hometown hero’s welcome Saturday. Tippett was diagnosed with terminal cancer and was sent home to hospice care from the Philadelphia Cancer Center.
On his way home, Tippett’s vehicle was met at the state line by N.C. Highway Patrol, Macon County Sheriff’s Department, and Franklin Police Department and was escorted up the Georgia Road (441 S.) past the community building where area emergency services personnel and vehicles waited.
Every fire department in Macon County was represented as well as U.S. and N.C. Forest Services, Franklin Police Department, Macon County Sheriff’s Department, Highlands Police Department, N.C. Highway Patrol, Macon County 911 Center, Macon County EMS, and N.C. Wildlife.
The convoy then traveled down Maple Street and turned at the light at Franklin FD and traveled up back street. They turned left and went out Depot Extension road and then took a right onto 28 N. From there the route went to Sanderstown Road and then on to Piney Ridge Road where the Tippetts live. Paramedic and 9-1-1 operator Amanda Dillard organized the tribute that lined the Georgia Road.
“I was able to use Facebook to get the word out to the general public and also word of mouth and let everyone know the route the escort would take so any family and friends could stand and salute our hometown hero as well,” said Dillard. “I was in close contact with Dennis' wife Kim and we were able to keep it all a huge surprise for him.
“I have had the privilege of knowing Dennis and his family, and working alongside of him at the 9-1-1 center as a part-time dispatcher for the past seven years. Dennis is a man that loves his family and loved his job and everyone involved in it. I felt I had to organize this to let Dennis know that we all are still here for him and that we will always be here for him and no one has forgotten him.”
Tippett is married to his wife, Kim, and has four children. The oldest child is 18 and the youngest is 3. Tippett, 52, began work for the U.S. and N.C. Forest Services in 1979. He worked at both places until 1996 when he began work at the Macon County Communications Center as a 9-1-1 operator.