Firefighters Working On Thanksgiving Still Find Ways To Celebrate

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While the majority of the Payson work force takes Thanksgiving Day off to spend with family, a handful of Payson firefighters stay at the stations in case of an emergency. They still try to celebrate.

Fire Captain Sam Mays said the firefighters working at the two stations in Payson met for the holiday dinner at the Main Street building. Their immediate families were also invited.

"Both stations brought turkeys," said Mays, who manages the north station #12. "One turkey was fried, and the other was baked."

Mays said working on the holiday is just something firefighters accept.

"For the most part it's all right," he said. "Usually our families can come down to see us and eat with us, but there is a chance that you can be called out."

And Thursday was no exception. When firefighter Keith Brown's family showed up to join him for the planned Thanksgiving celebration, he was out on a call involving a motor vehicle accident.

"His family stayed and had dinner without him," Mays said. "But that's what happens, so you just kind of have to take it as it comes. Somebody has to be here because there are emergencies that happen."

Fire Captain Rob Beery of the Main Street station said Thanksgiving and Christmas are normally slow days for service calls.

"We'll average three to four calls," he said. "A normal service call on the holiday takes between 60 and 90 minutes."

Mays said things were pretty calm this Thanksgiving.

"My station did not have any calls at all, so it was a quiet day for a change."

The Main Street station handled a few medical calls and the vehicle accident.

Beyond the Thanksgiving feast with their immediate families, there is one other constant -- watching football on television, and yesterday was no exception.

Beery said all firefighters have responsibilities that they must do inside the fire station, but those jobs are put on the back burner for two special holidays.

"On Thanksgiving and Christmas, we blow off our chores," the fire captain said, mentioning firefighters work 24 hours on, 24 hours off, for three consecutive shifts.

Beery said while the fire department employees still spent time with their families yesterday, there is one thing they are missing out on.

"Most of our extended families are somewhere else," he said. "We only get to see the immediate families."

Children who visit the fire stations on these holidays are not in awe of the experience. Beery said the reason is because most of the children grew up around the fire station. "It's their second home," Beery said.

Firefighters who have work on Christmas Day, celebrate the holiday on another day, Beery said.

"We work around it, and all families are used to it."

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