The holidays are here. The kids are out of school, educators are catching a quick break, and many of us will at least get a few days away from the office in the coming weeks. While we spend time preparing for the biggest holiday of the year, let’s take a second to think about those who do not get the luxury of being off work during the holidays.

I have always been aware of the fact that not everyone gets to spend the holidays with their family, but just recently; however, I befriended a police officer with the Fort Payne Police Department who opened my eyes to the thankless services our police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers continuously provide us.

They are the ones who pick up our 9-1-1 call when there is an emergency on Christmas Eve. These guys are the ones who are working the graveyard shift while we sleep peacefully at night. They are the ones we take an attitude of irreverence toward when they catch us speeding on our way to church, yet are also the ones we call on when we’re hurt or need help.

Think about where we would be during the holidays if it wasn’t for these people.

Without our ambulance dispatchers, there is a slim chance of an ambulance reaching your grandmother’s house on Christmas day when little Johnny is choking on a green bean. Without the fire department, there is a slim chance of a fire truck reaching your mom’s house when the Christmas turkey is ablaze.

Without our police officers, there is a slim chance the police car will reach the scene of a Christmas morning crime.

These people are the behind-the-scenes people who are calling the shots every day. They are the ones who are retrieving the cats out of the trees, checking little Johnny’s pulse, extinguishing the fire that engulfed your mom’s turkey, and they are the ones chasing down the bad guy who stole your 55-inch flat screen television you got for a good deal on Black Friday.

These people are the ones who are calling the shots every day and are hardly ever getting noticed for it. In return for their invaluable services, a police patrol officer’s average salary, in the United States, is $54,148. So, these behind-the-scenes people don’t do it for the pay. They don’t do it because they would rather be at work during the holidays than spending time with their families. They don’t do it because they enjoy pulling us over to write us speeding tickets. They do it because they have respect for life and liberty. They have sworn to uphold the law and protect us, even during the holidays. The men and women who work these thankless jobs are consistent, fair and honest, and we should acknowledge their sacrifices.

So, this holiday season, let’s take time to extend words of appreciation to someone you know who is working behind the scenes, today and every day, to keep us and our families safe.

Kayla Beaty is the managing editor of the Times-Journal. She can be reached at kbeaty@times-journal.com.

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