A salute to those who work on Christmas
"Weíre in the service industry like most people
in the valley, and we just adjust out attitude."
- Melidee Wright, customer service manager, Sun
By PETER BOLTZ
Express Staff Writer
On Christmas Day, if you are having trouble
counting your blessings, here are two to get you started.
Most of you will not have to work that day,
and all of you benefit from the work of those who do.
The Mountain Express would like to
salute all of you who will be working. Merry Christmas and thank you.
Among those who will be working on the
holiday this year are:
Monte Mills, lead groomer for the Sun
Monte Mills is one of the guys who makes
sure skiers on Baldy have groomed runs over the Christmas holidays.
At 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, he and his
fellow groomers will meet as usual at the base of River Run, talk over
what the nightís work will be, and then climb into their snowcats and go
On Christmas, they do it all over again.
"Itís a job that has to be done, and done every night."
Mills says he knows his family would love
to have him home in Pocatello with them on Christmas, but they all deal
with his work schedule with good cheer.
He has Dec. 22 and 23 off, so he heads for
Pocatello, picks up his grandmother en route in Gooding, and celebrates
the holiday early.
He said he and his parents and girlfriend
open presents theyíve given each other, and have Christmas dinner. After
he returns to work, his family continues Christmas with the rest of the
family according to the calendar.
As a matter of fact, Mills continues his
Christmas, too, during work and during his time off. Mills described the
people he works with as his "extended family," saying they have
"good camaraderie among each other."
At around midnight on Christmas Eve, he
said, someone will get on the radio and say Merry Christmas. Over their
"lunch" at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. on Christmas, theyíll wish each
other Merry Christmas again.
Asked if he were recognized by the people
he serves on Christmas, Mills said that happens whenever people discover
what he does for a living.
"It is not a thankless job," he
For four years out of the past five, Mills
has made sure Baldy is ready for those of us who don't have to work on
Melidee Wright, customer service manager,
Sun Valley Aviation
Melidee Wright has worked for Sun Valley
Aviation for 15 years. In eight of those years, sheís worked Christmas
"The airport never closes," she
said. "You would be surprised how many people fly in for the holiday.
Some may come in just for the day, or just a couple of hours."
And they all have needs that Wright takes
care of. The aircraft need to be parked and refueled. Often, passengers
have eaten on the way to the valley and so their dinnerware needs to be
cleaned. And just as often, passengers need something to eat on their
flight out, so catering is provided.
Wright will work from noon to 5 p.m. on
Christmas Day, and then be on call when she leaves for home. She said she
has hardly ever had to go back into work after leaving, but then again,
she may not get to leave right at 5.
"We stay according to whatever needs
doing. Our line crew, who ready the aircraft, have to stay even
Wright said she and her family open gifts
on Christmas morning and have Christmas dinner when she gets home.
Working on Christmas does not seem to be a
problem for her.
"Itís an attitude thing," she
said. "If you take it as an acceptable thing, you can still enjoy the
She made sure to mention the people she
works with on that day: the pilots, the flight attendants, the line crew.
"Weíre in the service industry like
most people in the valley, and we just adjust out attitude."
Thank you, Melidee Wright.
Bob Schulz, city of Hailey, water
Residents of Hailey, take a moment on
Christmas morning in the shower or when you draw water for coffee or tea
and thank Bob Schulz for being on the job.
By 8 a.m. he will be making his rounds
making sure the cityís water and sewer systems are running smoothly. It
will take him until 11 a.m. to check all pressure-flow readings and lab
work. In addition, he will check heating systems, motors, and security at
the four water systems and the two sewer treatment plants.
And when that is done, he is on call for
the rest of the day, and will have to go back into work if an alarm trips
or a water main breaks.
"On Christmas, itís just me,"
Schulz said. "Iím there to check things, and if need be, call in
This will be the fourth Christmas heís
worked since becoming the cityís water foreman in 1992.
"Over the years my family and I have
just gotten used to it. Iíve always had a job where I had to be on call
and work weekends. My family has just scheduled around it."
Besides, he said, "work is quiet on
Christmas Day. Thereís no Monday stuff, and Iíve never had a Christmas
eaten up totally with work."
He said family and friends will make up a
company of 12 for Christmas dinner.
"If weíre having turkey, I will be
responsible for about half the cooking. But if itís gumbo, our
traditional Christmas dinner, my wife, Ellen, is the only chef."
Leave a glass of water out for Santa along
with the cookies and milk, and remember to thank Bob and the rest of the
Hailey water department.