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Firefighters working on Thanksgiving spend the holiday with their ‘second family’

Donated meal for working firefighters and paramedics
Donated meal for working firefighters and paramedics(weau)
Published: Nov. 26, 2020 at 6:07 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Businesses across the country remained closed today, allowing employees to have the holiday off. However, some occupations don’t have that luxury. Working on thanksgiving means you miss out on time with family and loved ones. That’s not necessarily the case for firefighters.

“If you can’t be with your family during Thanksgiving you got an extended family to be with,” said Jon Beck, firefighter paramedic for station five in Eau Claire.

Beck and Ryan Hebert say they are together, at work, with their crew for what turns out to be a third of each year. So, they consider each other family.

“It’s like a second family. You know we do a lot together and we laugh a lot together,” said Hebert.

A family that wouldn’t let work get in the way of being thankful or sharing a big meal together.

“We try to do some type of meal together, we try to do that on most shift days and obviously Thanksgiving is a traditional turkey dinner. This year was donated by our firefighters local 47 they paid for a Thanksgiving dinner from Festival for each crew at each station,” said Beck.

“It’s something fun to look forward to as well as Christmas for those who have to work Christmas,” Hebert told WEAU.

On the holidays the working crews get a break from their routine inspections and training. Yet they still need to be able to work efficiently together to get the important stuff done.

“A lot of our job revolves around teamwork so we will team up with the meal and we will cook it together. We will see who has to do the cleanup by the flip of a coin,” Hebert says.

Beyond cooking and cleaning, of course, the crews still respond to emergency calls just the same.

“Thanksgiving on shift is kind of like any normal day. We don’t know what kind of calls might come our way,” Beck says.

Fire station five says turkey fires on Thanksgiving are less common than one might think, but still want to leave everyone with a few important reminders;

“Don’t dump water on an oil fire and don’t put a frozen turkey in a boiling pot of oil,” Beck said.

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