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Like Santa, first responders, medical professionals work on Christmas

MORGANTOWN — One person was famously born on Christmas.

Anne Moonen and Holly Hudkins think that’s quite enough, thanks.

Moonen is a surgical technician and Hudkins is a nurse in the Family Birth Center at Mon Health Medical Center,

The pair were two of the skeleton crew on the clock across Morgantown yesterday — medical professionals, first responders, retail clerks … newspaper reporters — working while most were making merry, sipping eggnog and arguing with loved ones about who knows what.

Christmas was quiet in the birth center, though saying so is considered bad juju — tempting fate and all.

“That’s just kind of how it is. It can be really busy or really slow. It’s been pretty quiet up here today,” Moonen said.

But not all day.

“We already had a Christmas baby today, just after midnight,” Hudkins said, confirming that a Christmas birth does not, in fact, come with the ability to perform miracles — at least not always.

It’s also not really the kind of thing you can always plan.

“I guess some people probably like the idea of having a Christmas baby, but mostly I think people just want to have their holiday,” Hudkins.

Meanwhile, across town, a group of fellows were relaxing and picking at some holiday snacks dropped off by their neighbors when a radio came to life.

It’s 1:15 p.m. on Christmas and someone is in cardiac arrest. Emergencies don’t take holidays. Neither does the Morgantown Fire Department.

“There are things we do every day. We’ve got to make sure the station’s clean and the trucks are running. It doesn’t matter what day of the year it is,” Firefighter First Class Chris DeBerry explained Wednesday at MFD Station 1 on South High Street. “The equipment has to be in place. Our air packs got to have air in them. The medical equipment has to be ready to go, no matter what. We’ve got to be ready to go no matter when or what the call is.”

Lieutenant Mark Thalman said he’s worked a lot of Christmases in his 19 years with the department.

Mostly, he explained, Christmas is pretty laid back. He couldn’t recall any memorable holiday stories — no fat guys jammed in chimneys, nothing elf-related.

“No. Nothing too crazy. I know there was a Christmas when we a had a structure fire because somebody was deep frying a turkey on their back deck,” Thalman said. “It’s typically quiet. We’re pretty much an insurance policy. We hope we don’t have to go anywhere, but it does happen.”