Some won’t be home for Christmas

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Colton Herrington stands beside an ambulance at Advance EMS.

Colton Herrington stands beside an ambulance at Advance EMS.

Christmas is a day to celebrate family, and while most are at home enjoying the day, there are many dedicated individuals who are working the day away.

The list is long – fast food and restaurant workers, retailers, emergency personnel and those in health care.
The Star-News asked several professionals who are “on the clock” today what it feels like to be away from their family on Christmas.

Colton Herrington is an EMT with Advanced EMS. At 20, he said he doesn’t mind being the one behind the ambulance wheel.

“It doesn’t bother me, really,” Herrington said. “If I’m doing it, then someone doesn’t have to take time out of their Christmas to do it. I don’t have any children, and while my family does have a big Christmas, it’ll be OK that I’m not there.”

At least two people working this Christmas are doing it not only because they have to, but also because they love what they do.

Amy Byrd of Gantt is a dispatcher at the Covington County E-911 Command Center. It’s a post she’s held for more than a decade.

“I don’t like working and being away from my family on Christmas no more than the next person does, but I am blessed with a great job that I love,” Byrd said. “I have done it for 13 years and wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Chuck Larimer is also another person working today.

“I own the tattoo shop in Florala, so it’s not really work, but I do have a few appointments that day as Christmas presents,” he said. “Tattooing is not really a job. It’s something I really enjoy, so I don’t call it work.”

There are countless nurses, emergency room workers, and hospital and nursing home staffs on hand to make sure patients are overseen this Christmas.

Nurse Kelley Coone said she knows firsthand what it’s like to work on the holiday.

“I’m off for the first time in a long time,” she said. “It’s great to be with family, but it’s great to help others too! Giving and caring make it feel like Christmas and patients and their families are usually grateful, but I may feel differently now that I am no longer single and have a baby on the way.”