PUEBLO — Christmas is usually spent with family around the tree or a crackling fireplace. But for others, the day was just like any other — with a little holiday spirit.

“It’s more in the spirit of the holiday than it is the actual day itself,” said Walter Maddux, AMR operations supervisor.

Emergency service workers enjoying some Christmas food during their shift. Credit: Rachel Saurer

For first responders on Christmas, their duty comes first.

“When you enter the business you realize that is part of the job. If you’re looking for a 9 to 5 with, you know, weekends and holidays off… this is not the job,” Maddux said.

Emergency response crews balancing holiday spirit with line of duty. Credit: Rachel Saurer

They say working holidays and different shifts comes with the territory, so they have learned to adapt.

“I don’t mind it. My family is very supportive. So they understand so typically we’ll either do something the day before either later at night or earlier in the morning,” said Jacob Mahan, Pueblo County Sheriff deputy.

It may just be another day for first responders, but they say they all try to make it special for those who have to come into work. Sometimes, they say the mornings can be slower on Christmas, so they try to take advantage before it picks back up in the afternoon. So, on Christmas, some emergency service workers enjoyed Christmas food.

First responders say they are one big family that they’re happy to be sharing Christmas with. Credit: Rachel Saurer

“The sheriff provides the meat trays and the cookie trays… and then sometimes we’ll go outside of the box and put on a full Christmas dinner,” said Lt. Douglas Sykes of the Pueblo County Sheriff.

And some departments organized events.

“The supervisor that was on [last] night, she organized a gift exchange and so at a point in time last night when things were kind of calm the crews all kind of gathered back here at the station and they opened up their gifts,” said Maddux.

Christmas may be a time to spend at home with family, but those serving our community say they’re happy to be spending the holiday with their work family.

“Fire, police, the hospital… any emergency service workers… we are kind of like our own family so we will celebrate the holiday actually together,” Maddux said.

“This is our family,” Lt. Sykes said. “So we make the best of what we have.”