BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Thanksgiving is usually shared with close friends and family, but for first responders, things are a little different.
Beckley fire department stations are staffed 24/7, meaning not everyone gets to see their loved ones on the holidays.
“It actually is my first Thanksgiving on duty,” said firefighter James Meadows. “I was okay with it, but my mom wasn’t too happy about it.”
Year after year, Beckley firefighters find their own way to celebrate what they’re thankful for: a second family bonded together through tough situations.
“We go into a lot of dangerous situations,” said Lt. Clifton Laws. “We never know what we’re going to face and we really need to have that camaraderie to know we’ve got each other’s backs.”
The three stations each bring something different to the table, much like they do on the job. Some make the main course while others focus on the sides.
“This year, we have the smoker going [to make] a pork shoulder and we’re actually going to fry a turkey as well,” said Laws. “Station one is handling the sides, so I’m not sure exactly what they do. Lt. Rick Fisher makes some delicious green beans and bacon, so maybe that’s on the menu.”
“I’m actually super excited,” said Meadows. “It is a second family when you come here. It’s friends and family, so I’m happy to be here.”
Since the shift on duty won’t get to celebrate with family today, some plan weekend celebrations.