What does Christmas Day look like for you?
I will arrive at the fire station by 7 a.m. on Christmas morning and stay until the 26th. When my kids Gage and Carly were younger, we would wake up super early to open presents from Santa. Now that they are teenagers, we celebrate on Christmas Eve.
How do you stay fit during the holidays?
Staying fit is a priority for me. High levels of fitness allow firefighters to perform more effectively and avoid injuries. As a lifelong fitness enthusiast, I opened Select Fitness in Jenks 19 years ago with my business partner Mike Pierce.
What is the best part of being a firefighter this time of year?
Because we show up when somebody is having a "bad day", we have a unique opportunity to make a positive impact despite their misfortune. I feel that the Christmas Spirit describes what we strive for year-round, so it feels that much better during the Christmas season.
Will you be working on Christmas Day?
In the past, my family and I have made it work by celebrating Christmas on a different day. Luckily, I was able to set a schedule this year that would sacrifice working on Thanksgiving to be off on Christmas.
How do you keep the Christmas spirit alive while on duty?
It’s easy to have Christmas spirit this time of year, whether it’s wearing a Santa hat or listening to Christmas songs. EMSA receives comfort items from a local non-profit and we give them to young patients, which is extra special during Christmas time!
Do you have any family traditions?
We have many little traditions in the Kolodzej household. But my favorite by far is shopping for a new building for our Christmas village. This year my oldest son, Zeno, will have the honor of choosing the building.
Oklahoma State Trooper
When do you celebrate Christmas?
We usually celebrate the holidays around my schedule. In the past, I have traded days with officers with younger kids so they can enjoy Christmas morning.
Best safety tip for the public?
The best safety tip I can offer is to not drink and drive. Drive like you mean everything to someone--because you do. We do not like responding to collisions, they are all hard, but the holidays add to the burden we already carry.
What brings you the most joy during the holidays?
I love helping those that cannot help themselves, such as the elderly. I especially enjoy the opportunity to help older veterans because their sacrifices paved the way for what we are able to do today. To be able to thank them for their service is the greatest feeling to me.
TPD Officer - Gilcrease Division, Impact Unit
How do you spread Christmas cheer?
Christmas is extremely important to me because it’s also my 8-year-old going on 9-year-old’s birthday! I enjoy wearing a Santa hat while on duty and have been blessed with gift cards to hand out to those in need. One year, I was on a burglary investigation on Christmas Eve where a family had all their gifts stolen from under the tree. I was able to give the family an expensive gift card donated by a local company to replace ALL the gifts that were taken. It was a great feeling!
How can we support police officers during the holidays?
Food is always good. Drop it by the different divisions or if you see an officer in a restaurant, offer to buy their meal. Support is so important in today’s world. A simple thank you goes a long way, but it’s always a blessing to be provided a meal.