Dispatcher Pennye Sasaki-Benda (fifth from right) and five others were honored last week for outstanding service to Santa Barbara County by the Military Order of the World Wars.

At a luncheon honoring six first responders, Pennye Sasaki-Benda received the National Law and Order Individual Award from the nonprofit Military Order of the World Wars (MOWW) for her life saving work as Communications Dispatch Supervisor for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office. The awards ceremony took place last Tuesday at the Santa Barbara Elks Lodge.

Leader of Santa Barbara’s MOWW faction — part of “a national patriotic organization” composed of American military officers and their loved ones, says MOWW’s website — Chapter Commander Charles “Crash” Huff presented the award to Sasaki-Benda. She has worked for 23 years in the Sheriff’s Office, not only supervising the performance of other dispatchers, but also answering 9-1-1 calls and dispatching law enforcement officials to local emergencies, said Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Kelly Hoover in a prepared statement.

On three separate 9-1-1 calls last year, Sasaki-Benda helped save lives by giving emergency first-aid instructions to panicked callers during the critical time period before authorities arrived on scene. She currently holds the record for the most “Saves” in one year.


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