Winners at the York County Department of Emergency Services staffers of the year ceremony are, from left, dispatcher of the year Karen Murphy of North
Winners at the York County Department of Emergency Services staffers of the year ceremony are, from left, dispatcher of the year Karen Murphy of North Codorus Twp., supervisor of the year Kim Holtzapple of Mount Wolf, and administrative support specialist Bob Fornwalt of York Township. (Bill Kalina)

York County 911 dispatcher Karen Murphy has two close-knit families, she said.

She and husband Robert Murphy have two children, 29-year-old Brandon and 24-year-old Tara, and "five of the most beautiful grandkids ever," she said.

But Murphy also has her second family -- her fellow dispatchers and others in the York County Department of Emergency Services.

"We're a pretty tight-knit family in here," she said.

On Friday, Murphy learned how important she is to that second family, who voted her York County's telecommunicator (dispatcher) of the year for 2012.

"It means everything to me," she said of the distinction, which puts her in an elite group of "great dispatchers."

Murphy, of North Codorus Township, has been a York County 911 dispatcher for nine years and loves being able to help people.

"It puts you on such a high to go home at the end of the day," she said. "No matter how many bad calls you get ... that one call makes it all worthwhile.

"Even something as simple as being able to be on the phone with somebody until help gets there (is rewarding)."

Murphy works long hours, including three 16-hour days a week. If she's not working, she's spending time with her family, she said.

Supervisor: York County's 911 supervisor of the year for 2012 is Kim Holtzapple, 46, of Mount Wolf.

Holtzapple is the county's geographic information systems supervisor.

Her job has many facets, county spokesman Carl Lindquist said. Right now, she and her team are working on mapping the exact locations of fire hydrants throughout York County, to create a comprehensive database, he said.

Like her fellow winners, Holtzapple had no idea she was being honored Friday.

"I was quite shocked ... and very honored," she said, especially because it was her fellow co-workers who voted for her. "That made it really meaningful to me."

Holtzapple has worked for the county's emergency management agency for 12-1/2 years and says she loves her job.

"To me it's much more than (a paycheck)," she said. "It's a matter of life and death for certain people, and you want to do the best you can.

Holtzapple has two daughters, 19-year-old Allison and 22-year-old Lauren. Her boyfriend is Keith Painter.

Support specialist: Also honored Friday was Bob Fornwalt, 64, of York Township. He's worked for the county for nearly five years.

He was named administrative support specialist of the year for his work as a communications analyst.

Fornwalt's job, in part, involves the 911 phone system and voice communications -- and making sure the phone system is working properly.

If he's not doing his job properly, dispatchers can't do theirs.

"I enjoy working with the folks here," he said, and was surprised to be honored. "It makes me feel good. I really appreciate it."

Fornwalt is married to Lois Fornwalt. They have two children, 32-year-old Amy and 37-year-old Alan, as well as five grandchildren.

At Friday's awards ceremony, York County Commissioner Doug Hoke praised all three winners for their teamwork, dedication and commitment to public safety, Lindquist said.

-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at