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Fire & Rescue Celebrates While Serving Community - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Fire & Rescue Celebrates While Serving Community on Christmas Day

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Not everyone got to enjoy a day off from work on Christmas Day.  Charlottesville fire and emergency crews were fully staffed and prepared to respond to any calls Tuesday.

Emergency responders couldn't be with some of their loved ones on the holiday, but many say it was a small sacrifice to spend time with their work families and serve the community.

Working on Christmas has become routine for fire and emergency crews in Charlottesville.  "It's just part of our job, part of our nature," said Clinton Mays with the Charlottesville Fire Department.

But not everyone had to be away from their family. "We are married.  We've been married since October 21," Audrey Barrell of the Charlottesville Fire Department said of her husband, Nick, who was also one of her co-workers Tuesday.

Many members of the Charlottesville Fire Department on Ridge Street were willing to trade shifts with others, so they could be at home with loved ones.

Nick said, "I always try to work for someone that has small children and they have to work Christmas Day so hopefully someone will pay the favor in a couple years."

It was a busy day for some emergency responders.

The Charlottesville-Albemarle Rescue Squad (CARS) and the emergency department at Martha Jefferson Hospital had an unusually busy Christmas on their hands.  They say it is mainly due to most doctors' offices being closed, the winter weather, and this year's flu outbreak.     .

Business aside, crews still got to enjoy time together over Christmas classics and plenty of food.

"Today I get to be here with my family here celebrating Christmas and the holidays.  We have a lot of fun here together as a group so we'll enjoy today and have meals together, invite the other stations over to enjoy Christmas with us as well," said Captain Joe Phillips with the Charlottesville Fire Department.

Danielle Moses with CARS said, "I think of CARS as my home away from home so I'm really happy to be here during the holidays."

Ultimately, they all came to work on Christmas for one reason - to give the gift of ensuring the safety and health of the community they serve.

"Well, people need us," said Dr. Daniel Ricciardi, an emergency physician at Martha Jefferson Hospital.  "This is a vital service we provide - Fire, police, and rescue squad - and so we need to be here when people need us."

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