While the rest of us are gathering around the Thanksgiving table and decking our halls, some of our fellow community members are leaving behind their own families to work long shifts where they will care, protect and serve. This holiday season, we give thanks for their service and sacrifice. 

Stan McDonald 

Overland Park Fire Fighter 

How long have you been an Overland Park Fire Fighter, and tell us a little bit about yourself and your family. 

I have been with Overland Park just over eight years. Brittany and I have been married for 13 years.We have three daughters and one son. Elliana and Taylen are 10, Lexi is 8, and Landon is 4. We have been a service-oriented family since the beginning. For 12 years my wife was a nurse, and I have been in the fire service for just over 14 years. Our family loves being active and cherishes the days we get to spend together.   

What is your favorite part of serving the community? 

For me it is the ability to stop at a moment’s notice and put their needs first no matter how big or small it may be. It’s knowing that we’re really making a positive impact at their worst moment.  

Do you do anything special with your coworkers/station at work on holidays? Any work traditions when you work a holiday? 

We always have the traditional holiday feast. If the families are in town, they will always make their way to the fire house. 

What do you do with your family to celebrate these holidays around your work schedule? Do you celebrate at a later or earlier date? 

Holidays are always crazy working around our schedules. We normally just adjust, so the day is celebrated when I’m home. For instance, Christmas Day is whatever day we make it. We have told the kids that Santa makes special trips for families like ours who are out there helping others.  

What things do community members do to make you feel appreciated when serving on holidays?

There is always someone who will stop by not wanting anything but to just say thanks. During the holidays that usually means sweet treats! Hearing a thank you means a lot to us.  

Officer Jay Fleer

Mission Police Officer

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

I have worked as a Law Enforcement Officer for 27 years, starting with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, then the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.  I have been with the Mission Police Department for 11 years. During my career, I have worked in a variety of roles, including Detention, Patrol, Patrol Supervisor, Special (narcotics) Investigations, Directed Patrol and Community Policing.

I work as a Patrol Officer and at most of the community outreach events for the Mission Police Department.  I teach D.A.R.E. at Rushton and Highlands Elementary Schools, and am the Department Rangemaster and Lead Firearms Instructor.  I’m the Department’s “go-to” guy for crime prevention and community education services.

 What is your favorite part of serving the community?

 My favorite part of serving the community is the personal contact and interaction.  I love teaching and empowering people to take care of themselves and make good decisions.  I think it is important for the people who live and work in the city to know that we are a part of them and fully invested in helping them to feel safe in the community.

 Do you do anything special with your team/coworkers at work on holidays? Any work traditions?

For the past few years, our Fraternal Order of Police Lodge has paid for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to be catered for the officers who work the holidays.  If one of us is fortunate enough to live in or near the city, or if their family brings dinner to the station, the others will cover calls while our teammates take a meal break with their family.  

 What do you do with your family to celebrate these holidays around your work schedule?

 My family is incredibly understanding, and they accommodate my schedule with little, if any complaint.  When I work day shift, we celebrate after I’m off duty. When that hasn’t worked out well, we celebrated either the evening before, or on my next day off after the holiday.

What things do community members do to make you feel appreciated when serving on holidays? 

I appreciate it when a civilian thanks me for my service and especially if he or she acknowledges my service on the holidays when most everyone else is with family.  Sometimes people will drop off goodies at the station. We all appreciate those, especially the portable kind that we can eat as we head out to, or are in our cars (cookies and small packages of snacks).  


Shanna Halloran

Labor and Delivery Nurse 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

I am a full time single mom of three wonderful children. My children have deep respect for my work and do many things to support me such as chores around the house and helping cook meals. My parents are also a huge support.

My passion for supporting women through the birth experience was seeded by the nurse who cared for me during my first delivery. She motivated me to pay it forward by giving the same compassionate care to other women. I began my nursing career in labor and delivery straight out of nursing school, and my patients have inspired me daily with their strength and bravery. I’ve worked at Menorah for the last three years, and during that time I’ve discovered a passion for education. I helped form an education committee for our unit, and we initiated quarterly drills for potential Obstetric emergencies, as well as monthly refresher education on a variety of obstetric topics.

What is your favorite part of serving the community and your patients at Menorah?

As a labor and delivery nurse, I’ve had the distinct honor of caring for women through the birth process for more than 11 years. These women have inspired me and taught me so much about life, love, and family. My favorite part of the job is getting to know each family and seeing the joy they experience as they welcome a new baby.

Do you do anything special with your coworkers at work on holidays? Any work traditions? 

On holidays our team always does a potluck meal. Many of my work sisters are excellent cooks. We always eat well on holidays! During the winter holiday season, one of our own nurses crochets red holiday hats for each of the babies, and we also give our families a festive stocking to place their newborn baby in.

What do you do with your family to celebrate these holidays around your work schedule? 

My extended family has been wonderful and supportive in adjusting to my holiday work schedules. We schedule our family gathering at a later date, and my parents do something special with my kids while I’m at work.

What things do community members do to make you feel appreciated when working holidays?

Our patients are always appreciative of the care we give but especially on holidays. Many of them acknowledge that we are missing time with our family to be at work and often give us extra thanks with a special treat or a card. Working on holidays is a small price to pay for the honor and gift of being a part of the birth experience for so many amazing women.


Racheal Roberts

Menorah Nurse Medical Telemetry unit

Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

I’ve worked with Menorah for almost three years now, and have developed the closest of friendships with my coworkers. They really are my second family. I’m currently in school working towards my BSN, with plans to graduate this December. For my senior project, I’m working with the homeless in the KC area, providing medical care, or handing out care packages. My family is small, but we are close. We are a little dysfunctional, but that’s what makes my family my favorite.

What is your favorite part of serving the community/your patients at Menorah?

I love the social interactions that I’m able to have with my patients. Most of the patients I treat are elderly, and I love hearing stories about their upbringing because it’s so vastly different compared to mine!

Do you do anything special with your coworkers at work on holidays? 

Those who are able to bring leftovers from their family dinners bring it to share with the unit. For Christmas, we wear our festive sweaters and elves ears or Santa hats. The patients love it when we are in the holiday spirit! 

What do you do with your family to celebrate these holidays around your work schedule?   

My family is very accommodating. We plan meals around my work schedule so we can celebrate on the actual holiday. I do sacrifice a little of my sleep to get up earlier to have a meal with my family, but that’s a fair trade!

How do community members make you feel valued when working holidays?

A patient’s family always take the time to mention how appreciative they are of the staff for caring for their loved ones on the holiday. Families tend to bring the big tins of butter cookies to share with the unit (which we love, by the way!) It’s not always an action that’s needed to feel appreciated, just a few kind words will do the trick.