ILLINOIS (KFVS) - While most of us woke up to the sounds of excited children and a bustling house of family members getting ready for a day of holiday festivities, many first responders were hard at work keeping the rest of us safe.
Still, the men and women who protect us have families they want to celebrate the holiday with as well as working between 10 and 24-hour shifts. So many have to sacrifice that warm, drawn-out Christmas morning with their loved ones to celebrate at different times.
Officer Ashley Noto with the Carbondale Police Department said he and his family were up bright and early at 4:30 this morning to open presents.
"At my home what we did was get up early for Christmas and went through all our gifts with the children, I have 3 daughters. For that for Christmas and everything its worth it. To see the looks and the smiles on the children - that's everything. So it keeps the motivation to be able to come in and work like this on Christmas."
In some cases, first responders know some of their coworkers have young ones to make Christmas as special as possible for. One of those people is Captain Wes Shakes with the Herrin Fire Department.
"My child is grown and married now, so he's not at home we don't have little ones at home. Some of these guys have little kids at home. I actually came in about 45 minutes early this morning so one of the guys could go home to be there early when his kids got up to open presents"
Then there are guys like Officer Ryan Tripple with Carbondale PD who have to celebrate Christmas over several days in order to see all of his family for the holidays with a schedule having him work on Christmas.
"We did Christmas with extended family a couple days ago," Tripple said. "My side of the family is gonna come down tomorrow night and we did it with the family - just me my wife and the kids this morning."
These first responders who put their lives on the line on a daily basis aren't just potentially sacrificing themselves for our safety, they are sacrificing special family time during the holidays as well.
So Merry Christmas to all the first responders out there helping make sure our holiday goes smoothly.