BANGOR — Thanksgiving may be a day off from work for most, but first responders continue to do their jobs to keep the community safe regardless of the holiday.
“You got to embrace it. It’s part of the job,” said Don Hiser, a firefighter and EMT with the Bangor Fire Department.
Although they may be working on the holiday, it’s a tradition for Bangor firefighters to cook up and eat typical Thanksgiving dishes.
“We always get together and do a big crew meal. With COVID being the way it is, we haven’t been able to have the outside stations come down today, so they’re doing their own meal,” said Assistant Bangor Fire Chief Chandler Corriveau.
Preparation began on Wednesday, and cooking took place all morning, so the firefighters could share a Thanksgiving meal together.
“We had two turkeys. We smoked a turkey. We cooked a traditional turkey. We had a ham and then just all the fixings,” Corriveau said.
For the firefighters, the meal together goes beyond the food.
“It is our second family. We cry together. We laugh together. We fight, just like brothers and sisters at home. We’re brothers and sisters on the job. We’re all here with a common interest, and that’s protecting the citizens of Bangor,” said Jared Willey, president of the Bangor Professional Firefighters.
Although it is Thanksgiving, the firefighters got a call as soon as they began to eat.
“We all sat down, and we were out the door in less than a minute to go handle that emergency,” Corriveau said.
Corriveau said one of the most important things he is remembering is the three members of the department deployed overseas.
“They don’t get to be with their family for any of the holidays, so I‘m very fortunate, and we’re all very fortunate that we’ll be able to see our family tomorrow, but they’ll, the ones deployed, won’t be able to see them until next year,” Corriveau said.
The firehouse Thanksgiving tradition has been taking place for many years, and they plan to continue for more to come.