First responder Thanksgiving at the fire house
On Thanksgiving, when most of America gathers to feast with their families, some members of the community have to be on call in case of emergency.
Law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics, EMTs and dispatch personnel all do what they can to make Thanksgiving Day special, but the job always comes first.
“Because of the business of the job, you answer calls and eat when you can,” acting Glenwood Springs Police chief Lt. Bill Kimminau said.
The police department always has plenty of donations of food available at the station over the holidays.
“We’re well-fed during the holiday season,” Kimminau said.
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Many people bring cookies and other food items to the Glenwood Springs Police Department around Christmas, but there’s one couple that always brings hams to the station for Thanksgiving, Kimminau said.
In addition to the hams, Glenwood police also received a delivery of bagels and fruit from Glenwood Springs café Sacred Grounds.
For the past five years, Yolanda Dominguez and Lanza Sarmiento, owners of Sacred Grounds, have delivered platters of bagels and fruit to the police department on Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“It’s nice to give back for what (the police) do, and give them something for the services they offer for the whole town,” Dominguez said through an interpreter.
Police officers also may join in the big meal that firefighters are cooking up. The Glenwood Springs Fire Department crew that has their 48-hour shift fall over Thanksgiving are putting together a feast, and bringing their families and inviting police officers to the station.
“I think we have about 20 people coming to the downtown station for a Thanksgiving meal,” said Harlan Nimmo, battalion chief for the Glenwood Springs Fire Department.
Because of the big kitchen and living quarters, which the police department doesn’t have, the fire station is the perfect place to cook four turkeys and prepare the many side dishes, Nimmo said.
Fortunately, Thanksgiving isn’t typically a busy day for emergency and law enforcement calls, according to Tom Holman, operations manager for Garfield County Dispatch.
“Occasionally, you get domestic violence kinds of calls when families get around the table and they get to drinking,” Holman said. “It’s nothing like Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve.”
There may be some road and weather-related calls if there’s a storm, but this year’s forecast doesn’t look too bad on that front – at least not until later in the day.
The county dispatch center in Rifle also has a big kitchen, and the four dispatchers on their 12-hour shift this Thanksgiving will make or bring a potluck, and eat between emergency calls.
The event at the fire station is an annual tradition but varies somewhat depending on who is on duty. The fire crews work 48 hours on, six days off, so it can be random who is working a holiday shift.
But whoever is on call over the holiday is like a second family to the crew members.
“There’s a lot of camaraderie. We spend a third of our lives at the fire station with our coworkers, so it really is like a second family. The holidays are a nice time to get our families all together. It’s a good time,” Nimmo said.
“I’m most thankful for my family this year,” Nimmo added.
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It was a first for Glenwood Springs and the Colorado Mountain College Spring Valley campus, which played host Saturday to a high school girls rugby match.