Hometown Heroes: The Essential Workers Who Keep The City Going Strong

Friday, December 25th 2020, 9:54 pm

TULSA, Okla. -

There are a lot of people putting in double-time on Christmas day to keep their city going strong. Essential workers said the best gift this season is providing a service with a smile on their face. 

You might even call them the hidden hometown heroes.  

"We'll be here. They'll be here. Somebody's always here,” said James Yoder, TFD Captain. 

“We are a 24/7 365 facility,” said Chip Robertson, Covanta Energy Operations Maintenance Manager. 

"We have people working 12-13 hours,” said Charles DiClemente, general manager of DoubleTree by Hilton in Downtown Tulsa.  

Those are the faces of the frontlines, clocking in on Christmas. James Yoder with the Tulsa Fire Department said they can not have their families up to the fire station this year but said he is just happy to help Oklahomans over the holidays.  

"We kind of consider it an honor to be able to do this,” Yoder said.  

Yoder said his 24-hour shift starts at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, but many get in early to relieve their fellow firefighters. Yoder said they even have folks who volunteer to take the shifts of parents with young children. 

"We know their kids and that's special to us too,” said Yoder. “And they'd do the same for us." 

Charles DiClemente works for Doubletree in Downtown Tulsa and said his employees are hard at work to provide a warm, friendly face to guests checking in.  

"This is our guests' home away from home while they're visiting their family and friends,” DiClemente said.  

DiClemente said working on a holiday is not easy, but for hospitality workers, helping others is innate.  

"This is what you want to do,” said DiClemente. “Your passion is service to others." 

Chip Robertson with Covanta Energy said they safely and securely dispose of all that extra holiday trash, converting it to steam and providing electricity to 12,000 homes. 

"People that are home for Christmas, guess what, Christmas lights are going. We're helping that out," Robertson said.  

Robertson said his workers are committed to doing their job every day of the year and doing it well.  

"I'm really, really proud,” said Robertson. “I am so glad I'm a part of these guys and a part of this team."