Christmas gift of working

Dec. 23, 2012 @ 07:31 PM

Stephen Vinson has a simple but profound reaction to his friends and co-workers laboring Tuesday so he can spend Christmas morning with his children.
“It means everything,” said the water and sewer division worker with the city of High Point Public Services Department.
Fellow employees Brad Siler and Zack Sams, both of whom aren’t married and don’t have children, volunteered to work the Christmas Day shift so that co-workers such as Vinson can enjoy the day off. That means on Tuesday morning, the 34-year-old father will cherish the experiences and memories of watching his children open toys on Christmas morning. His youngest children are 3- and 4-years-old.
Vinson, a former police officer, understands from personal experience what it means to work Christmas Day. So it deepens his appreciation of having the holiday off.
The gesture by Siler and Sams to work a Christmas shift for their friend is replicated across a range of professions this week in which someone has to be on duty, from police and fire departments and emergency service agencies to hospitals and mass media outlets.
Siler, 28, and Sams, 24, have volunteered several times to work the Christmas Day shift from the Public Service Department field office on Green Drive downtown. The men are part of the crew that would respond to emergencies with broken or leaking water and sewer lines across the city.
Though they would enjoy spending the day with their families, they realize that Christmas may be the one day of the year when parents — especially fathers and mothers with young children — shouldn’t have to punch the clock.
“It’s more important for them to spend time with their kids than be out in the field working. They can be there to see their kids opening presents,” Sams told The High Point Enterprise in an interview the week before Christmas.
Siler said that 95 percent of the people he works with have children. He’d consider it selfish on his part to work Christmas
Day, knowing the odds are great that his slot would be filled by a parent.
Siler and Sams also hope that, in the years to come when they are married and have a family, a co-worker who is young and single as they are now will follow their example and give them Christmas Day off.

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528