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Working behind the scenes

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By Katy Korkos

If the lights are on, the water comes out of the tap and the Christmas goose is cooked, there are workers from the Department of Public Utilities to thank for making the holiday a happy one for county residents. The police and fire departments are ready to respond to emergencies, as they do year-round, but there are less visible county workers that keep everything running behind the scenes.Crews from the electric distribution division are standing by this Christmas holiday.Journeyman electricians Sam Martinez and Eric Sanchez both commute from Taos, so Sanchez will be spending the whole of Christmas week in Los Alamos so that he will be in town if the roads are impassable, and be available if needed.“I’m worried about the storms, so I’ll just stay in town,” Sanchez said Friday.Martinez said that he had worked for the county for seven years. “I’ve worked plenty of holidays,” Martinez said, adding that he also worked over the Thanksgiving holiday this year.Sanchez, whose children are 4, 5 and 12 years old, said that the kids would be opening their presents on Christmas Day without their father this year.“They just want to open their presents, so I told them to go ahead,” Sanchez said.Sanchez said that he enjoys working for the county, and is looking forward to having Airport Basin built.“We have a good chemistry (among the co-workers). We stand together with the gas, water and sewer guys. I’m proud to work here.”Jonathan Montoya and Sammy Maestas will be on standby for the gas, water and sewer division.Julian Bonnell, who goes by the nickname Shane, will be working for the water production division, as he has done almost every Christmas since 1998.“I’m here to provide good quality water,” Bonnell said. “I don’t have young kids at home any more,” he said. He added that his wife usually makes some posole and tamales for his Christmas dinner.“I work Christmas a lot; the only time I get off is if it falls on a weekend,” Bonnell said.Leroy Lopez will be keeping everything flowing smoothly at the wastewater treatment plant. His daughter is coming home for the holidays from California, and his son lives nearby in Rio Rancho.“We’ll celebrate after I get home,” Lopez said.After his shift on Christmas Day, he has most of the rest of the week off to spend with family. He’s hoping to have a good visit with his daughter, and get together with extended family later in the week as well. Lopez has worked for the county for 10 years.“My family doesn’t mind (if I work on Christmas). We rotate holidays, so it’s only fair,” Lopez said.All joined in wishing a Merry Christmas to Los Alamos families.