Working Christmas: First responders spend holiday away from family, but happy to serve

News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — While many El Pasoans enjoyed Christmas opening presents under the tree, many are working this holiday.

One of them is El Paso Fire Department Lt. J. Beeman, who had to watch over Facetime as his daughters opened their gifts, but he says it’s worth it to keep the community safe.

“I’ve got two little girls and they were opening their presents this morning and I was on a Zoom meeting or facetiming to watch them open the gifts,” Beeman said.

Beeman girls bake cookies

Beeman could be seen at Fire Station 29 in East El Paso on Christmas morning. Meanwhile, his daughters, ages 4 and 6, were at home opening presents and baking cookies.

“They know that daddy is out here trying to help people out. I figure that if people are going to be calling 911, people are going to have emergencies, and there’s always people who are sick and need help and I want to be the one that they call,” Beeman said. “So, it’s kind of a give and take, I don’t mind it too much but there is some loss there with not being able to share those special moments with my family.”

Another firefighter, Kevin Jury, could also be seen working on Christmas. He tells KTSM 9 News he hasn’t seen his grandparents in 10 months and Christmas is no exception encouraging others to do the same.

“The best thing is to stay home and that’s not only protection for you but protection for your grandparents, your parents,” Jury said. “I know I haven’t seen my grandparents in almost 10 months because of what I do and I try to stay away.”

He’ll do just that. Jury said that as much as he would love to see his grandparents when he gets off of work on Christmas, he’ll avoid them to keep them safe.

“So it’s a rough year I know they’re getting up in age and it might be our last Christmas with them so we’re going try and do a drive-by or something like that to try and keep them safe and try to give them another couple of Christmases we need to do our part,” Jury said.

Jury hopes to keep his grandparents away from the same hospitals where other El Pasoans like David Calzada are working and spending the holiday away from their loved ones.

Calzada is an EMT at an El Paso emergency room.

“I’ve gotten used to being away from family but knowing that I’m here trying to help people out. I think it’s kind of the shared feeling over here; everybody wishes we could be home but at least we’re doing something, you know,,,it’s something that’s appreciated,” Calzada said.

Not only is Calzada missing Christmas with his family, but Friday is also his son’s birthday. However, he tells KTSM 9 News he’s proud to be helping the community.

“You know people come in feeling sick and we’re just happy to be there for them at their worst so we have pride in what we’re doing here so it’s a sacrifice but we love what we’re doing though,” said Calzada.

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