Always on call

Three decades ago, Bell operators each took turns throughout Christmas Day connecting Fort Frances and district residents with family and friends across North America.
Moms and daughters, dads and sons, and lovers all made calls to each other.
Never ever seeming to lose patience, the ladies in the switchboard room back then helped connect couples announcing engagements to families. And they made it possible for excited young children to announce to grammas and grampas what Santa had brought during the night.
In a nutshell, the operators were essential to Christmas.
While operators no longer are required for long-distance calls, many people are as important today as they were three decades ago.
A member of our family made an unexpected visit to the hospital over the holiday weekend. As always, it was fully staffed. The emergency staff quickly moved the patient into a cubicle to be seen by the doctor who had left home some time earlier in the day to look after patients.
And wouldn’t be home until the next day.
Lab technicians were available for blood testing. The imaging people were present for ultra sounds, X-rays, and more.
All to look after our community and its people.
And if one visited Rainycrest, or the Emo hospital, one would find caring nurses and staff looking after district family members. All of those workers are essential on Christmas or any other holiday.
They and many other workers across the district did not get to spend a full day with their families on either Christmas or Boxing Day. They include police officers, customs officials, church leaders, firemen, bus drivers, pilots, and ambulance attendants.
At the newspaper, we had staff members out attending Christmas activities. Duane Hicks was at the community dinner at Knox United Church here on Sunday while Heather Ogilvie took in the candle-lighting service at the Emo cemetery on Christmas Eve.
Then on Boxing Day, she recorded the curling “funspiel” in the newly-renovated club at Emo. Their Christmases were interrupted so that others could read about what was happening in their towns.
Christmas always has been a time of families and sharing. But all too frequently we forget about those who give up time with their families to make us feel safe.

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