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Tri-State residents love their jobs

September 06, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

For Chris Moats, her job is like no other, and she wouldn't want any other.

"This is probably the most exciting job that a person could have," said Moats, 45, a labor and delivery nurse at Washington County Hospital, where she has worked for 20 years.

Each day, Moats sees the miracle of childbirth and helps moms and dads welcome a new life into the world.

"I think it is a profound honor to help a couple on one of the most important days of their lives," said Moats, of Downsville.

With Americans celebrating Labor Day tomorrow, many Tri-State area residents will take a break from their jobs, even from the jobs that are fun, interesting and rewarding.

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Moats said her job is all of the above.

She said she still gets excited when a baby is born and will share tears with the new parents. People will stop her on the street years later to remind her she was the nurse who delivered their children. One thankful parent even sent her Mother's Day cards for several years.

Best of all, she gets to see the faces of moms and dads at that amazing moment just after their child is born, Moats said.

"It's a look of pure joy. You don't see it often," she said.

* * *

As job sites go, Donna Howard couldn't ask for a better view.

A river guide for River and Trail Outfitters in Knoxville, Md., she enjoys such occupational visions as the ducklings in springtime, the rush of the Shenandoah River in the summer and nature's autumn palette.

"When the leaves change in October, it's just a gorgeous trip," said Howard, of Frederick, Md.

Howard works full time as a physical-education teacher at Brunswick (Md.) Middle School. But for the past 12 summers, as well as on weekends in the spring and fall, she has rafts filled with families, church groups and even Vice President Al Gore going over the rapids of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers.

Not a bad gig, huh?

"I love it. You meet all kinds of people," Howard said.

The job keeps her busy and active, and it's never boring, she said.

"I don't (get bored) because it's beautiful scenery and I meet people from all over," Howard said.

* * *

When he was a second-grader at Old Forge Elementary School, Gilbert Thurston came across a magic book, and from that point on, he was hooked. As a teenager, he worked in the Magic Den store in Valley Mall, and after he graduated from Smithsburg High School, he began performing for a living.

"I guess it's just one of those things I got into at an early age and just caught the bug," said Thurston, 25, of Hagerstown.

He and his wife, Lisa, also own a business, called Mountain Breeze, that sells air purification systems. But magic is his first love.

These days Thurston performs his sleight of hand at parties, corporate events, store openings and other occasions. He said he gets an adrenaline rush performing before mystified audiences.

"I guess it has to do with the unknown. You are always intrigued when it's something you don't know," he said.

But what he enjoys most of all is entertaining, not tricking, and includes humor in all of his performances.

"I like making people laugh and smile, and things like that," he said.

* * *

When people want to know about the history of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, they might want to ask Debbie Ayers.

Ayers, a 32-year-old Martinsburg, W.Va., resident, is the chief of interpretation for the C&O Canal National Historical Park, responsible for the five visitors centers located along the 184.5-mile canal.

Her job also is to provide information about the canal to everyone from historians to hikers, a diverse group that has equally diverse interests in the canal.

"It's just a really neat story to tell about the history of the canal," she said.

It's challenging and rewarding, she said.

"It's very nice when you feel like you've helped somebody out," she said.

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