It is not an emergency, it is a heart's desire. That's why California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) representative/member and CHP dispatcher Carmen Zaragosa is hanging up her headset and following a calling to do ministry in Israel with her husband and 13-year-old son.
For 16 years, Zaragosa answered emergency calls for help at the Merced and Monterey CHP communication centers. Now it's time to answer her own call, to help.
"I'm taking a year leave of absence and we are journeying to Israel to do ministry," said Zaragosa. "We will be helping wherever needed with food ministries and attending different churches to assist in any way we can."
On October 23, 2012, Zaragosa said goodbye to co-workers, leaving them with the gift of inspiration. "My almost 17 years of dispatching has strengthened me as a person and given me a deeper compassion to help people," said Zaragosa. She said she is stepping out in faith.
"Carmen is a great friend!" said fellow CHP dispatcher and CSLEA member Leticia Avila. "She's always there for anyone who needs help. She is like my mother, my sister, my mentor. I admire her so much, but most of all, her faith and love of God."
Zaragosa admits, she doesn't know what is in store for her and her family. "It will be me, my husband and 13-year-old son, who is autistic," said Zaragosa. "This will be quite a challenge flying with him. We are Christians and our Lord has been dealing with our hearts for the past couple of years to do ministry in Israel."
"This illustrates the high quality of people who make up the public safety dispatchers (PSD) family," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "It shows in everything they do, their faith, work ethic and commitment to excellence."