Holiday tradition, duty intersect

Police officers, staff and lifeguards relinquish some of their Thanksgiving to continue serving their cities. ‘Same as any other day,’ battalion chief says.

November 26, 2009|By Joseph Serna

While most folks Thursday were sitting around a table, scarfing down turkey and gravy or crowded around a TV watching football, a small number of people had to keep the Newport-Mesa running.

“Somebody’s got to work the holidays. Nobody likes to but these guys are out there doing what they do,” said Jamie Hooker, 24, a jailer at the Costa Mesa Police Department.

So Hooker’s family, which is chock full of Costa Mesa police officers — her mother, father, brother, grandfather, among others — open up their home every Thanksgiving to their co-workers.


She said her grandmother, Jeanne Moody, started the tradition more than 50 years ago for her husband. The tradition was passed on to Jamie’s mom, Janie, a reserve officer in the department and her husband, retired Sgt. Dave Walker.

Now officers count on an open door at the Walker household every year from about 1 p.m. till 9 or 10 p.m., Hooker said.

“We wanted to give them somewhere where they can get a family-type dinner,” she said. “CMPD has always been such a tight family.”

Each department has its own traditions. Newport Beach police officers working were treated to a continental breakfast by a local hotel and a Thanksgiving dinner later in the day, employees there said.

Newport Beach lifeguards were nonchalant about the holiday.

“It’s not bad. Same as any other day,” said Battalion Chief Rob Williams. “It’s about teamwork. We were scheduled for today so we work.”

The men did get a special visit from Fire Chief Steve Lewis, who brought an apple pie, Williams said.

“It’s part of the job. You know it when you sign up,” said Capt. Brett Ranek.

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