A Spotlight on Those Who Work while We Celebrate with Family

Come mid-November, folks are slipping into holiday mode. They’re making travel plans, drafting holiday menus and looking forward to some much-needed time off. However, public servants rarely spend holidays at home. They keep the city running so we don’t have to. Read about three community members who’ll be working on Thanksgiving this year.

Capt. Scott Maness, City of Knoxville Fire Department

How long have you been with the fire department? 

I have worked with the Knoxville Fire Department 22 years and have been assigned to Hazmat 18 Bearden station for three years.

Why did you enter this line of work?

I worked a couple dead-end jobs out of high school and decided to go to college. After running out of money, I enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. I took advantage of the G.I. Bill and finished my associate’s degree. I found a job sitting in a cubicle all day, but this was not my style. I decided that my calling was to serve. I applied for the Knoxville Fire Department and was hired in 1996. While working at KFD, I have earned my bachelor’s in public safety and became a hazardous materials Instructor for TEMA. After 22 years of service, I still enjoy working for my department and serving my community.

What are the most challenging issues that arise in your line of work? 

Every day is a different challenge, and it can be physically and mentally exhausting. We respond to fires, car wrecks, medical emergencies, gas leaks, carbon monoxide calls, chemical odors, body recovery, hazardous materials responses citywide and anywhere needed in the state if activated. We are a Level One Response CBRNE [chemical, biological, radiation, nuclear, explosive] Team for Tennessee and FEMA, which include responses such as rail tankers, tanker trucks, mass casualty events and terrorist threats and events.

What do you want the public to know about those who work for the public and often have to work on holidays? 

Although we are working on a holiday, it is a normal day for us. We respond to emergencies, clean the station, wash the trucks, try to eat in between calls, relax when we can and enjoy time with “work family.” We do this because we love our jobs and the people we serve. Our families support us because they understand the difference we make in the community.

Scott Harmon, Foreman 1 for the City of Knoxville 

What are the most challenging issues that arise in your line of work? 

The most challenging issues that arise in my line of work are making sure the events go on without any problems.

Holidays often don’t matter schedule-wise when it comes to your line of work. How do you and your family members/friends adjust the schedule so you can still celebrate? 

We often know which holidays I’ll be working far in advance, so my family can often adjust to the holiday schedule pretty easily. They sometimes celebrate in my absence, or we celebrate early. The last holiday I was off that my family celebrated together would have to have been Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.

What are some of your favorite events that you’ve had to work or help prepare for? Do you ever get to enjoy them as a regular citizen? 

I really enjoyed working Boomsday. I always liked having a front-row seat to the fireworks. I also enjoy taking my girls to see all the decorations and lights after working hard putting them up in October and November. The only event that I take advantage of as a regular citizen is probably the ice skating because my girls want to. My family goes to the Nativity Pageant, but I am usually working it.

What do your children think about you working on holidays? 

They are usually pretty understanding about me working, but sometimes they do miss out on certain events if I’m working.

What do you want the public to know about those who work for the public and often have to work on holidays? 

I would like them to know that for those of us who work for them during the holidays, we would often like to be celebrating with our families too, but we also like making sure they have a fun and memorable experience. 

Sgt. Jeremy Maupin, Knoxville Police Department

Why did you enter law enforcement?

It’s my calling in life. God puts people on this earth to serve others, and I am blessed to have received this calling. 

What are the most challenging issues that arise in your line of work? 

Obviously, first responders work 24/7 and therefore the hours are tough on the family. When you are a spouse and a parent trying to manage a hectic schedule of church, ballgames, school events, family vacations, holidays, etc., then sometimes the stress and the lack of sleep are challenging.

What do you enjoy most about your job? 

I love the challenge of seeking out the evil in our world and attempting to deter or eliminate the crime that negatively affects our community. When we can take illegal weapons, drugs and criminals off the street, it brings a great sense of joy to any police officer.

Holidays often don’t matter schedule-wise when it comes to your line of work. How do you and your family members/friends adjust the schedule so you can still celebrate? 

God not only calls an officer but he calls the entire family to serve and share the sacrifices that arise in this line of work. I have been extremely blessed and fortunate to have a very loving wife, kids, parents and family. They try their very best to pick times and days to celebrate the holidays. Now, it’s not always easy or possible. I often have to miss birthdays, weddings and some minor holidays. My wife and family have grown to adjust to sometimes celebrate Christmas or Thanksgiving on days before or after the actual designated day.

What do you want the public to know about those who work for the public and often have to work on holidays? 

We are citizens just like you but have somewhat of a different lifestyle. Although we know what we signed up for and we gladly embrace the sacrifices that go along with our job, just know that it’s not always easy. We just ask that you support us and pray for us as we do everything in our power to provide a service of protection for you and your family.