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York County never sleeps

It’s 3:30 a.m.

The York Daily Record office is mostly empty aside from the chatter on the police scanner, and one lonely night-desker. The company’s goal is to serve the community, not just when you are awake, but when you’re fast asleep, too.

The York Daily Record office at 3:30 a.m. Sometimes the lights turn off while I am at my desk.

Whether it’s a restaurant that caught fire long after closing at 2 a.m., or a tsunami overseas, our goal is to provide the most up-to-date coverage possible.

However, this organization isn’t the only round-the-clock operation in town. Though all you nine-to-fivers might not know it, there are plenty of York Countians hard at work, like me, during the “graveyard shift.”

I took to social media to find out who else was burning the midnight oil, and received a warm welcome from a lot of locals who were at work, on their break, or – shhhh — checking their phones while at work.

I learned a lot from them.

Take Dover resident Ashlee Kniss for example. She is a patient care technician who works three 12-hour shifts a week from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. She began working the day shift, but after a year, chose to become a nightsider.

“I do have a 16 month old son. Daycare is the major reason I work nights. He only goes to daycare twice a week. That means I pretty much get to be a stay at home mom but still providing an income for my family,” she said.

She is able to balance parenthood, and a career, something that can be tough for people who work during the day. However, Kniss does acknowledge some downsides to working third shift.

“The only thing I mind is having to flip my sleep schedule. Sometimes it’s easy, then some weeks I get hardly any sleep.”

Then there’s Jen Demmitt, of Mount Wolf, who works at ES3 in Strinestown. She starts work at 7:30 p.m. every day and works 10- to 12-hour days sometimes. She didn’t choose second shift, it was the only opening available.

“I feel I have no life, and I sleep all day,” she said. She enjoys only working four days a week, but would rather work during the day, and believes third shift is “truly a love/hate shift” because she does enjoy the people she works with.

“The hardest was learning a completely new sleep pattern,” Demmitt said.

Alena Joy Lookingbill also works at ES3. But doesn’t mind working through the night.

“I like working the hours that I do because I like all the others that I work with,” she said. “I am definitely not a morning person, so it’s a lot easier for me … I am a lot more awake.”

“I don’t have any kids which makes working night shift a lot less complicated because I don’t have to find anyone to watch my kids,” Lookingbill said.

She doesn’t see herself switching shifts anytime soon. “I would rather not. I love the hours that I work and I can’t see myself wanting to change my hours. After I have my own family, definitely, but not right now.”

Numerous others checked in from around York County including Joseph Writer who operates a saw at Pennex Aluminum, and Dallas Stough who is a custodian in Dallastown. Both of whom are off to work once the stock market closes and sun goes down.

I am not quick to call York “the city that never sleeps.” Most nights in the office, I am working on stories like this, or keeping ydr.com fresh with interesting, newsworthy content. But if shots ring out at 4 a.m., or there is a major fire overnight, or the County is blanketed with a foot of snow, we’ll be there to cover it, whether you are sleeping, or hard at work.