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Cookies For First Responders

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Kids may have already put out a plate of cookies for Santa, but he's not the only one staying up on Christmas Eve.  Emergency crews have to cover the Christmas Eve shift just like any other night. A Dixon man ensures they're appreciated.

Police officers, firefighters, doctors and nurses are all working tonight, away from their families during Christmas Eve. So, for the third year in a row a Dixon man has organized an unofficial relief effort for those workers, delivering hundreds of home baked Christmas cookies to the men and women working the holiday shift. It's his way to say, "thank you".

In the back of a big red car, Ron Pritchard's deliveries sit ready to go.

"The boxes are overflowing, we got six boxes here for six separate entities," said Pritchard.

He'll deliver 50 dozen cookies Monday night, thanking the emergency workers pulling the holiday shift.

"Have a lot of respect that they put their lives on the line for us," Pritchard added.

He started this tradition three years ago while he was planning his own Christmas. The idea just popped into his head.

"I got to thinking these guys, some of them would be here looking out for us instead of home with their families."

Dixon fire Department Captain Mike Wilcox certainly appreciated the gesture. 

"We know that's our business. We're 365 days a year. We're here to help the people so we know it's going to happen."

Wilcox has pulled 10 Christmas Eve shifts over his 27 year career, taking him away from his two children who are now in their twenties.

"It's easier now than what it was, and I feel for the younger guys," said Wilcox.

He points to guys like rookie firefighter, Sean Wagner.

"We do the family stuff on Christmas Eve, but obviously, I'm not there to participate in it this year," said Wagner.

His wife and five month old baby will spend Monday night without him.

"Luckily, my wife's understanding.  She knows what the job entails and the sacrifices I have to make," Wagner added.

Those sacrifices are made a little easier with the generosity of others, and the sweetness of home baked goods.

"It's the thought. It validates what we do and do we need it? No, we're going to be here, but it's nice to hear, well, 'thank you,'" said Wilcox.

Pritchard will deliver boxes of cookies to the police, sheriff, and hospital Monday night. He doesn't want to be recognized for this cookie drive. Instead, he'd like to see his idea spread.

"Really what I'd like to see is this grow into something, throughout everywhere besides just here," Pritchard said.