First responders spend Christmas keeping residents safe

By James Felton, Brianna Owczarzak

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Flint-Saginaw-Bay City, MI (WNEM) -- While many people get to spend Christmas opening presents and enjoying a meal with loved ones, there are others who don’t get the holiday off.

“I think the big challenge is with your family not completely understanding why you have to work holidays,” said Justin Martin, paramedic supervisor at Mobile Medical Response.

The holiday doesn’t stop Martin from being out on the street to assist anyone who needs his help.

“Let them know, you know, this is just a little, hopefully just a little incident today. Unfortunately, it happened on Christmas, but it’ll be OK,” Martin said.

Fellow paramedic supervisor Bill Weaver oversaw operations at the station on Wednesday. Even though it was a regular day at MMR, Weaver did what he could to make things festive.

“Cooking ham and then everybody brings in different dishes to pass, cheesy potatoes, baked beans, whatever you know. It’s a good family type atmosphere,” Weaver said.

Weaver said a nice meal and decorations are just what his staff needs during the holiday.

“Gives them that break away from the road. Gives them a chance to kind of sit there and refresh so that we can go back out and continue to serve,” Weaver said.

Paramedics were not the only ones working on Christmas. Afterall, someone had to send them out on their assignment.

“Most of us have kids here. So it’s hard to be away, but we all know that’s part of the job,” said Melissa Grove, dispatcher for MMR.

Grove said her secret to working on Christmas is to celebrate it on a day she’s not on the job.

“I have a daughter who is 11. Santa came last night to our house. And families understand that you just have to work around that. Santa is really flexible,” Grove said.

For his part, Martin said whenever there is a need, he is ready to answer the call.

“That’s why we get into this is to help people. We want to make sure we can provide access to care all the time, even on the holidays,” Martin said.

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