Working the holidays: first responders say community support means a lot when duty calls

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- First responders don't always get to spend the Thanksgiving holiday eating turkey with their families, but they'll tell you they have their own reason to be thankful.

Lieutenant Brandon Creel works for Guntersville Fire and Rescue. "I've been in the fire service for 18 years," he said. Twelve of those he spent working for Guntersville. "It's a lot of holidays worked. You think you're going to get used to it with family and all, but you never really do."

He left his wife and three girls to be there for the city of Guntersville if the community needs him and the rest of the fire and rescue crew. "It comes along with the territory and my wife understands and my kids understand. It's worked good for us for the 17 years we've been married."

One thing the firefighters say is really touching, every year, is the overwhelming amount of community support that they see every holiday. "A lot of the churches, a lot of the individual citizens are good around the holidays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, bringing us meals. They do really good taking care of us here at Guntersville Fire," Creel said.

"Generally the doorbell's ringing a half a dozen times a day, especially on Thanksgiving or a Christmas Day," said Guntersville Fire and Rescue Chief Brian Waldrop, "People come and share their love and bring food."

Working the holidays comes along with the first responder job description, but an understanding family and a sense of duty makes it easier, and the support they get from the people they serve every day doesn't hurt either. "We appreciate what the community means and does for us and in return we try to make our community safe and serve them the best we can, even on the holidays," Creel said.