11/27/08 — Turkey day no holiday for some employees

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Turkey day no holiday for some employees

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on November 27, 2008 1:46 PM

News-Argus Video Report


Claude Jackson of the Goldsboro Police Department talks about his plans for Thanksgiving -- working.


Stephen Moore said he will bake a fresh batch of Krispy Kreme doughnuts early Thanksgiving morning.

This Thanksgiving, Alex Westbrook and Linda Overton might rush to your aid if you choke on some particularly dry turkey.

And if your annual Thanksgiving dinner family bickering turns into more than a scuffle, Goldsboro police officers Claude A. Jackson and Kevin Tucker might document the scene of your domestic disturbance.

Then there's Stephen Moore, who will be up at 3 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning to make sure there are Krispy Kreme doughnuts available for purchase in Goldsboro.

What do these folks have in common? They all must work on Thanksgiving Day, while the rest of Wayne County is home enjoying -- or tolerating -- the close company of nuclear and extended family.

And while they all say they will miss being there for some or all of the celebration, they also said they know their jobs come first -- whether that includes administering life support or rolling some original glazed doughnuts down the production line.


Emergency Medical Technician intermediate Linda Overton, wife of Sheriff's Office Capt. Darryl Overton, will be riding in an ambulance on Thanksgiving Day.

Mrs. Overton works in Grantham, at EMS station No. 3, on the 24-hour shifts that are standard for county ambulance stations.

This is Mrs. Overton's third Thanksgiving in a row that she has had to work, although she says her husband's profession in law enforcement helps him understand.

She would rather have the day off, but understands that holiday duty is part of being an emergency first responder.

"Well, no, I would rather not work, but I like my job," Mrs. Overton said. "And I mean, it could be worse. I could be without a job. And I get good benefits, too."

Mrs. Overton said that in her experience running an ambulance on Thanksgiving, the calls are slightly different, because families have gathered.

"There's a lot more family involvement there, especially if somebody dies or something like that," Mrs. Overton said.

And then there's lunch.

"Everywhere you want to eat is closed," she said.

But the emergency workers don't go without a Thanksgiving meal -- often, their families will provide a bite to eat, and local residents have been known to call and ask if everyone on the shift has been fed, Mrs. Overton said.

EMT intermediate Alex Westbrook will also be on duty.

This is Westbrook's first year in Wayne County, having served with the Newton Grove Rescue Squad in Sampson County before moving to Wayne, he said.

Westbrook, who is 23, said this is at least the fourth year in a row he has had to work a shift -- somewhere -- on Thanksgiving.

But although the Southern Wayne High School alumnus is engaged, his fiancee says she knows he has a job to do. And Westbrook said the job appeals to his sense of service.

"It'd be nice to have it (Thanksgiving) with the family," Westbrook said. "But if I can't be with my family on Thanksgiving, I'd rather be helping people."


Goldsboro police officer Claude A. Jackson said he has stopped counting the number of Thanksgivings he has had to work, although he had last year's off.

This year, he works a day shift, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., still allowing him some time to spend with his family late in the evening.

Jackson and his wife live right across the street from his mother-in-law, and that's where the officer is headed once his shift is over.

Of course, at that point, he is expecting most of the food will have reached leftover status.

"Everybody will have probably have eaten by then, I'm sure," said the patrolman, who also has two children.

But Jackson said his wife is used to having an absent spouse on holidays, depending on the year.

"(I've) been doing it 10 years. It's nothing to her. The bills get paid," Jackson said with a jovial laugh.

Jackson said duty on Thanksgiving Day can be different from regular days.

"It just depends on what holiday it is, like on the Fourth of July, you have a lot more people out, because it's summertime," Jackson said. "Wintertime holidays, you have a lot more people stay in."

All those folks dealing with one another in cramped quarters sometimes leads to a disproportionate number of domestic disturbance calls, the officer said.

Kevin Tucker is a first-year Goldsboro patrolman who says he likes working on the force so far.

He is not sure yet what to expect from Thanksgiving, but says his girlfriend understands.

"It comes with the job, and she understands that," Tucker said.


And while most of Wayne County sleeps, longtime Krispy Kreme employee Stephen Moore will be awake -- making the doughnuts.

Moore makes doughnuts at Krispy Kreme about three days a week, which means he must wake up at about 3 a.m. to be at the East Ash Street business by 3:30 a.m.

Manager Stacey Cole said the store is open on Thanksgiving in case anyone wants to add doughnuts to a holiday feast.

"I usually have to leave the house around 3 (a.m.) or 3:15 a.m.," Moore said. "You get used to it after a while."

Early, odd and holiday hours are a reality for many in the service industry, the doughnut man said.

"I have to realize that I make my money while everybody else is enjoying themselves. It kind of comes with the territory."

When Moore gets in, he must move quickly, he said.

"I have to basically turn everything on, have to get my shortening right, have to get my gauges, humidity and everything else right in the box," Moore said.

And in about 15 minutes, the first sign of the doughnuts appears.

"I start to run my dough at about a quarter-to-four," Moore said. "I end up cutting it 25 to 30 (minutes) later."

But all the days Moore must arise early to make the doughnuts are worth it to him, he said.

"Especially when I can see on their face and I know they're enjoying it," Moore said. "(And I say), That's my doughnut, yeah."