Holiday just another day for some

Published 5:28pm Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On Thursday while most of Dallas County’s residents are sitting down to a festive feast, some of the county’s finest will be working through the holiday.

“It’s the holiday season, but our employment requires that we have to work during this time. Though others may be off, but we don’t have that luxury,” Selma Chief of Police William T. Riley said. “This is what we sign up for. It’s what we do, and we do it proudly.”

Riley said that while a number of officers will be working their regular shifts, there will be extra officers doing holiday patrol.

“We’re going to have extra officers out there doing holiday patrol to bolster the shifts, because this is the holiday season, we have more people out and about and we want to make sure that we try and keep the community as safe as possible,” Riley said. “It’s important that others can go out and enjoy themselves and have the best time that they possibly can, visiting relatives and what not. So it’s necessary [for us] to be out there — not just the regular shifts but also some extra patrols. And also we have some investigators that are on call as well.”

Riley said the officers who sacrifice their holiday will have an opportunity to celebrate at a different time.

“There’s always a time, opportunity for them to take another time to celebrate. And even [Thanksgiving] day, during the day during their lunch hour or lunch break they can stop by and have a Thanksgiving meal with their family,” he said. “If things are not busy they may have an opportunity to stop by and see family for a while and eat Thanksgiving [dinner].”

Even if they get a break, public safety will not.

“Somebody’s always got to be out here. And we’re just like the fire deptartment Their buildings are on call as well,” Riley said. “They are going to be ready to respond as well. So public safety, we’re out here, and we do it because that’s what we do.”

Selma Fire Department Battalion Chief Doug Horton agreed.

“It’s one of those things that you kind of accept when you accept the job — that you could be away from your family on holidays, Horton said. “Fires and wrecks don’t stop on Christmas or Thanksgiving.”

Seventeen from the fire department will be on duty Thanksgiving Day. And Horton said they do have some time they can spend with their family, but on average the fire department spends more time with each other than with their families. So even though they may not be with their actual family on Thanksgiving Day, they will have each other.

“It’s kind of a fellowship time for us too. We spend more time with them than with our own family,” Horton said. “We’re a large family.”

Family is something the nursing staff, housekeeping staff, dietary staff, radiology and lab staffs, and many others at Vaughn Regional Medical Center will be caring for this holiday.

“Community healthcare never sleeps, but it is our privilege at [Vaughan] to be the family that cares for your family, friends, and loved ones,” Merrill South, director of community relations at Vaughn said. “For us, healthcare is a profession of compassion – even though that can mean the sacrifice of traditional family time.  But we love what we do, and we do it because of our care for this community and those that make it.”

Those working on Thanksgiving will work 12-hour shifts, and the operating room team will be on call for any emergencies around the clock.

“Our emergency room is always ready to help since your emergency is our emergency, and emergencies occur on holidays sometimes, too,” South said.

In appreciation for those who will give their holiday to their profession Vaughan will provide Thanksgiving meals to the staff and physicians that are working during the holiday.  In fact, those who worked the night shift on Wednesday night had a complimentary breakfast.

“We appreciate our Vaughan team members and are grateful for their willingness to care for our community,” South said.

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