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Thankful for first responders this holiday season

This holiday season, when you’re gathered around your Christmas tree with family, or snuggled under a blanket watching holiday movies, or out for a special night with friends, take a moment to think of those who are working to keep the peace and help people in need — our first responders.

There are lots of jobs that aren’t necessary 24/7/365, and yours is probably one of them. But the holidays don’t mean downtime for law enforcement officers, EMS, firefighters or 911 telecommunicators. They are needed every moment of every day, whether or not it’s Christmas.

Officers are still on-duty, still patrolling, still keeping our neighborhoods safe while you are out Christmas shopping.

EMS personnel are still responding to medical emergencies in minutes’ time while you are at a Christmas Eve service.

Firefighters are managing wreck scenes, supporting other responders and as always, standing ready to extinguish fires while you open presents and eat family dinner.

Telecommunicators are making the vital connections so all of it can happen, even when you’re sleeping in on Dec. 26.

Many places close for a day or two — or three — over the holidays at the end of the year; first responders do not get that luxury. And because they make that sacrifice, we all get merrier Christmases and happier new years.

If you are one of those first responders, we’d like to say thank you for all that you did for your community during 2019, for all that you’re continuing to do now over the holidays, and for all that you will do in 2020.

If you’re a family member of a first responder, you deserve a thanks, as well — you make a sacrifice as well. You never know what a shift may bring for your loved one, and you’re well aware of the demands such a job makes not only on the person doing the job, but the family who supports that person.

We encourage everyone to show first responders in their lives — even just ones they encounter in a store or out to eat — a little extra love during the end of the year. Tell them, “Merry Christmas” or “Happy New Year;” tell them, “Thanks for all you do;” buy their lunch; hold the door for them — make whatever small gesture you can to show your gratefulness. They deserve it.