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Making work feel like home at Wausau Fire Department

Thanksgiving is a time many people typically have the day off to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families, but for first responders, it’s another day on the job.
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 8:25 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Thanksgiving is a time many people typically have the day off to celebrate Thanksgiving with their families, but for first responders, it’s another day on the job.

Emergencies don’t just happen Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and it’s almost never a dull moment on the job and holidays are no exception.

“Emergencies happen anytime. It is what it is, we’re missing out on family time,” Wausau Firefighter and Paramedic Al Buch said.

However, that doesn’t mean there’s no time for a good old-fashioned Thanksgiving day meal, even at the fire department.

“We try to make the day as good as we can,” Wausau Engineer Paramedic Mark Koepke said.

While it’s typically a slower day, it gives the crew in Wausau a chance to reflect and be thankful.

“This is our family here at work and it’s nice for the guys to have as close to home as they can get while being here at work,” Buch said.

Buch led the cooking for Thursday’s meal, getting things started at 7 a.m. He made a traditional dinner with cranberries, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pie, and of course a turkey. It’s a way to bring the crew together and show their thankfulness for each other.

“It makes me feel good, I try to do my part and they appreciate what I do and I know that,” Buch said.

They work 24 hour swing shifts together, ultimately creating these lifelong friendships and camaraderie with each other, while keeping the community safe.

“We don’t like being away from our families on a holiday, but it does give us the opportunity to be there in case somebody does have an emergency on a day like today,” Koepke said.

Despite having to stay on high alert and miss family time on turkey day, the public shows their thanks by dropping off treats and gifts during holidays.

“It’s nice to know we’re appreciated for the work we do in the community,” Buch said.

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