COLORADO SPRINGS — Across the country, families come together on Thanksgiving to celebrate over food. But for some, their loved ones do not have the day off, and serve the community in a number of essential roles.
At UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, Nursing House Supervisor Jessica Yoo said she misses a major holiday at least once a year, after working as a nurse for around 12 years. "My family's super supportive so we make it up a different day or later in the day... We all go into health care because we want to help people and so the same goes for me, I'm here because I want to help people when they most need it," said Yoo.
UCHealth had a Thanksgiving meal for their patients as well, and gave them a little rubber ducky to go along with it. "We watch them go through some of the hardest things that they have ever experienced, same with their family members, so if we can do little things, like little duckies, to make them smile and make them a little happier, it's amazing," said Ashley Hays, a registered nurse at UCHealth.
Not too far from UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, the Colorado Springs Fire Department hosted a Thanksgiving meal for their firefighters and paramedics, who could also bring their families to celebrate. "Everyone enjoys having their families here as well, it makes it a little bit easier to have to work the holidays... I love to serve the community, I love being able to help people, and I understand that we have to work so that everyone's safe 24/7," said Justin Smit, who's been a firefighter and paramedic with the Colorado Springs Fire Department for around three years.
It's a feeling echoed by those on patrol with the Colorado Springs Police Department over Thanksgiving. "In general, holidays seem to be pretty busy... We just do it because this is what we signed up for, we enjoy doing this," said Officer Renee Swartz.
All of those interviewed did say their families are supportive of their careers, and they can usually find another time to celebrate.