Service sector

Christmas and commitment: In the public service, December 25 is not necessarily a public holiday for everyone | News

Most people think that Christmas is a day when they won’t be needed at work. After all, even Santa Claus takes his leave after making his rounds the night before.

Yet for some people, December 25 is often just another work day. They show up for work because they are the ones keeping the safety and security of those they are sworn to protect. If they don’t show up, those lucky enough to celebrate at home could fall prey to crime, accident, disaster or other misfortune.

In a sense, those who sacrifice the chance to celebrate the holidays with family and friends become something of a guardian angel, and even when they’re not seen, it’s obvious they’re still working for good. from the community.

It’s no surprise, then, that the Maryville Public Safety Department is staffed around the clock, and if a shift falls on Christmas, he or she will inevitably be on duty regardless.

People interviewed by the Daily Times said they not only accept this responsibility, but also see it as part of their professionalism. Rather than complaining, they treat it with pride and passion. “It’s a calling,” Sgt. Dwight “DJ” Porter of the Maryville Police Department said when asked what motivates him when he finds himself working on vacation. “It’s something I like to do. I have always had a desire to serve. Just as doctors or teachers are called to do what they do, I feel that I have been called for this service.

Firefighter/engineer John Craw echoed similar sentiments. He said he also had a calling. “I love what I do,” he said. “I never feel like I’m going to ‘work’. So even though I know I’m going to be scheduled for Christmas, for me it’s just another day. Also, I consider the people I work with to be part of the family. I am blessed to have them. We love and support each other. We consider ourselves a band of brothers. If I can’t be with my immediate family at Christmas, I can be with my fire family.

sergeant. Porter said he felt the same way about the people he worked with. “On this day in particular, I want my fellow officers to know that they are part of the family. We love each other and we kiss. It can be hard to be away from our families, but we also consider ourselves family.

Nonetheless, he encourages his officers to try to spend a few minutes at home during breaks from their shifts. He said he personally plans to celebrate at home on Christmas Eve and then again when he gets home on Christmas Eve.

Jason Barham, owner of Solid Ground Security of Maryville, said that although his employees sometimes have to work over Christmas, he arranges for them to work four-hour shifts instead of the usual eight hours. A veteran of law enforcement, he said he also knew working on a public holiday was part of the job.

“Someone has to step in,” he said. “And those of us who get into that line of work all tend to step up.”

Other operations will continue unabated on Christmas Day as well. Caitlin Darras, senior public relations specialist with the Knoxville Metropolitan Airport Authority, said while McGhee Tyson Airport tends to be the busiest on Thusday, December 23 Sunday, December 26 and Monday, On December 27 rather than Christmas Day itself, many of its employees will still work on December 25.

“We will have staff from our operations and security departments here around the clock to keep the airport open and operational,” she said.

Capt. Kelly Simerly of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority Public Safety Department shared many of the same thoughts Sergeant Porter and Firefighter/Engineer Craw expressed when speaking of the people she worked with. “At the airport, we try to get work on the Christmas Day Special by celebrating with our work family,” she said. “We have a meal together and invite our families to stop by the station to try and spend some time with us.”

She also said that those who work with her possess a similar sense of dedication and devotion. “People who choose this type of profession do so out of a love of helping people, and we understand that there are certain sacrifices that come with it,” she said. “At this point in life, my family doesn’t have little ones, so we pick a day that works for everyone and pretend it’s Christmas Day. We love spending time with each other, whatever day we celebrate.

Of course, there may be some setbacks depending on one’s responsibilities. While most people cheered that there was a White Christmas last year, some city workers weren’t so excited because they knew they would be called upon to clean up the streets.

“We weren’t that happy,” said Tim Green, superintendent of public works for the city of Maryville. “We realized we were going to work.”

Email lezim@bellsouth.net to contact Lee Zimmerman, longtime freelance writer, reviewer, reviewer, and blogger.