First Responders Working Holidays

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12-25-06 While many of us are at home spending the holidays with family and friends, one special group of people are hard at work. First responders give up their holidays so we can safely enjoy ours. While they admit they would like to be home with thier families, helping those in need is Christmas gift enough.

The stockings are hung in the nursing station with care. It's Christmas in the Wilson N. Jones emergency room. Instead of spending the day in a holiday sweater, hospital staff wear their holiday scrubs.

"I celebrated yesterday with my family," Jolene Ross, a nurse practioner said. "Most of the people who work in the emergency room, we either celebrate the day before if you have to work Christmas."

Since hospital shifts typically run 12 hours at a time, Ross says pretty much all emergency room staff have worked a holiday or two. She's worked Christmas or Christmas Eve for the past five years, and she's learned how to make it merry. Some shifts organize a gift exchange, most ER staffers decorate a stocking, and many even cook.

"We try to make it as much like home as possible," Ross said. " We all bring the turkey and dressing and ham and everyone either brings a dessert or a dish."

Medical personnel aren't the only ones working. Over in Colbert, volunteer firefighters are on the job too. The firefighters were at home celebrating Christmas, but left their family celebration to fight a large blaze at a vacant building. No on ewas injured, and the fire was contained. Firefighters said their families know it's a part of the job to serve others no matter what.

"We do this job everyday and we all enjoy it," Wade Jackson, Colbert Volunteer Fire Chief said. "It's always hard to do, on Christmas day or anytime of the year. They understand."

The firefighters were able to go back to their holiday celebrations after putting out the fire.