Business as usual for those working holiday


TRI-STATE -- While Memorial Day offered some relaxing family time for many in the Tri-State area, it was business as usual for those providing medical care, food and the staples of daily life.

Sunday provided some father-and-son time for Joe Gardenhour Sr. and 13-year-old Joe Jr. They set up folding chairs near the starting point of Waynesboro, Pa.'s parade on CV Avenue.

"I've lived here all my life and always enjoy the parade. My son wanted to see it," said Joe Gardenhour Sr., adding that both were looking forward to seeing the motorcycles.

The pair had tentative plans to go fishing later in the day.

Sally Wagaman of Waynesboro used to work some Memorial Day holidays at South Mountain Restoration Center, but now she is retired.


"I always like to be with family," Wagaman said, saying she was especially thinking of her cousin who is currently serving in Iraq.

She also makes sure to put out flowers each year, just like her father would tell her to do. She and her husband attended the Waynesboro parade in the morning.

"I think it's just important to come out and honor the soldiers. That's what Memorial Day is all about," Wagaman said.

Kevin Biesecker had the day off from work and was spending the day with his wife, Brandi, and 5-year-old daughter, Rachel.

The family started the day at Waynesboro's parade, where Rachel enjoyed the bands and horses, and planned to share a picnic later.

"We also use the time to work in the yard," Brandi Biesecker said.

Nibbles and putts

The Simply Irresistible bakery on Baltimore Street in Greencastle opened for several hours by happenstance on Memorial Day. Shayna Gehring arrived for the pre-ordered cakes but ended up doing a lot of business during the town parade.

Spectators purchased soda, water, eclairs and two dozen soft pretzels.

"Mostly they wanted to nibble, I think," Gehring said.

She hoped to send the last pre-ordered cake out the door by 3 p.m., then head home for the tail end of a party at her house.

Rick Mohn, owner of Fun Castle Fun Center in Waynecastle, Pa., brought in five employees for the holiday, where families typically play miniature golf. It was open from noon to 8 p.m.

"A lot of people come into town. We're in the kind of business where you make hay when the sun shines," Mohn said.

Fun Castle Fun Center is open every holiday except Christmas and Easter, so working when others are off has become routine for Mohn. On Monday, he missed a family outing but didn't think too much about it.

"I almost say, 'Don't invite me because I'm always working,'" Mohn said.

He said the business, which has go-karts, arcade games and batting cages, fills a niche for families looking to spend time together. On holidays, that tends to include more out-of-state people visiting relatives in the Waynesboro area.

Just another Monday

Cindy Lewis is a registered nurse at Washington County Hospital. On Monday, she worked the day shift as nursing supervisor.

"Usually I manage the emergency department, but today I'm managing the whole hospital," Lewis said.

That is the only major difference between Memorial Day and any other Monday for her.

The hospital staff also works holidays without complaint. The time-and-a-half pay they earn for working those days is a nice incentive.

With 22 years of experience in the nursing field, Lewis knows that people need medical care 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and holidays are no exception.

Keith Bowen knows that, too. As a 911 dispatcher at Washington County Fire and Rescue Communications for more than 20 years, he said Memorial Day was just a normal day for him.

"We do get an extra holiday day for this, but in all other ways, it is just a Monday for me," Bowen said.

Roger Murray has been a manager at the Roy Rogers Restaurant on West Franklin Street in Hagerstown for six years. As always, the eatery was open on Memorial Day.

"We had a light crew ... it's usually slow on the holidays," Murray said.

But he hastened to add that a lot of chicken was sold Monday, indicating people wanted to enjoy picnics without the fuss of cooking the chicken themselves.

Kim Sherfey, manager of the Sheetz at 1465 Edwin Miller Blvd. in Martinsburg, W.Va., echoed the sentiment that Monday was just another day for her store.

"People need gas and they need food, so we're here," Sherfey said.

Sheetz is open 24 hours a day -- holidays are no exception.

"Surely I'm missing some family events, but I'm used to it," Lewis said.

As for Memorial Day 2009, she said the only way she was going to have a picnic when she completed her shift was if she cooked the food herself.

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