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COVID Diaries Colorado: Incident Management Team Member Driven By 'Desire To Do More'

Apr 26, 2020

Kyle Nelson speaks from within the Pitkin County Incident Management Team headquarters on April 16, 2020.
Credit Courtesy of Kyle Nelson

As a 911 dispatcher, Kyle Nelson is used to busy days. But Thursday was an unusually hectic one at the Pitkin County Incident Management Team headquarters, where he’s working during the pandemic. The team had planned to participate in a livestreamed public health meeting and roll out plans to start testing residents for COVID-19. What they didn’t plan for was a heavy snowfall – at one point 1-2 inches per hour – that led to messy roads and a flood of calls to emergency dispatchers. 

Nelson works behind the scenes, organizing the latest coronavirus intel and briefing the county's decision-makers. 

The Incident Management Team, working out of a converted hotel lobby, is a group of emergency officials pulled from other jobs around the county. In addition to working as a 911 dispatcher, Nelson is also a ski patroller. 



Kyle Nelson's workstation in the Pitkin County Incident Management Team headquarters.
Credit Courtesy of Kyle Nelson

"As it’s been snowing today, I really wish the lifts were turning so I could get some turns in,” Nelson said. “For me, that’s typically the way that I relieve the stress and anxiety of the work that I do in public safety.”

Despite that, Nelson said he’s driven by the same desires that got him into public safety in the first place – keeping people safe and informed when they need it most. 

“It’s a mixture of the desire to want to do more,” Nelson said, “The desire to want to be there, to respond to every citizen in need, to every person who’s been disadvantaged, economically or physically impacted by COVID-19 and to be there for them.”

This story is powered by COLab, the Colorado News Collaborative. Aspen Public Radio joined this historic collaboration with more than 20 other newsrooms across Colorado to better serve the public. 

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