AUGUSTA – A Farmington man has received a national award from the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials.

Stephan Bunker of Farmington, an E-911 Operations Manager for Maine’s Emergency Services Communication Bureau, has been named trainer of the year by APSCO, a 16,000 member international professional trade association.

Although he learned of the award in May, he was sworn to secrecy, but the cat’s out of the bag, Bunker said Thursday.

Bunker’s primary focus is to manage the development and delivery of basic and advanced training for all Maine dispatchers. One of his past students nominated him to the association for the award, he said.

“I am stunned, amazed and very humbled to get this level of recognition, and to receive the recognition coming from a student of mine makes it even more special,” he said.

The award will be presented at the 75th annual APSCO conference in Las Vegas on Aug. 17. Along with the award, he wins an expense-paid trip for himself and his wife to receive the award.

Bunker has attended the conference for the last 10 years. It provides professional training for him and creative information through seminars and workshops that he has brought back to Maine to help develop and deliver courses to Maine dispatchers, he said.

This year with the state’s budget limitations, outside travel is not available and he had resigned himself to the fact he wouldn’t attend the conference this year.

Other years he has watched numerous people receive awards in front of thousands, he said. This year it will be him.

Bunker plans to accept the award on behalf of the great role Maine dispatchers play in local public safety.

“It has been such a pleasure to have played a small part in the training of 911 dispatchers in Maine, to contribute to the skills that they use each hour of every day to assist people in great need. It is they who really deserve the credit and recognition,” he said.

One of the best parts of the award, so far, is the number of people in Maine and all over the country who have reached out when they learned of the award to express congratulations, he said.

Trainer of the Year is one of six awards APSCO presents to public safety communications personnel who have demonstrated the highest levels of personal and professional conduct and performance in the line of duty.

In addition to his work at the state Emergency Services Communication Bureau, Bunker has served as a firefighter with Farmington Fire and Rescue since 1978 and served on several town boards and committees. He is currently chair of the town’s Board of Selectmen.

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