First responders celebrate Thanksgiving in the Valley

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 10:46 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - For many, Thanksgiving is a chance to spend time with loved ones. However, first responders remain hard at work to keep the community safe during the holiday.

On Thursday, first responders gathered with their families at Fire Station One to share a meal with loved ones while on shift. The evening provided a rare chance for essential workers to see their families for Thanksgiving.

“Our families don’t often spend the holidays with us so we tried to make that happen this year,” Fire Battalion Chief Larry Werner said.

After 37 years with Harrisonburg Fire Department, Werner knows the value of spending time with family.

“This job is very dangerous. You leave in the morning and expect to come home the next morning... but in that 24-hour period, anything can happen,” he added.

Local paramedics run over 9,000 calls per year. For members of the rescue squad, Thanksgiving is an opportunity to be grateful for coworkers who step up in every situation.

“These are relationships that you can’t explain. You go through many things together. You experience tragedies and great highs as a group,” said Rescue Squad Paramedic Molly Karabinus.

Firefighter Joseph Fierro emphasized the importance of his coworkers at the Harrisonburg Fire Department.

“You spend a lot of time with them so they become your second family. Being here feels like being at home,” Fierro said.

For Patrol Supervisor Wes Douglas, Thanksgiving is just as busy as any other day protecting the community.

“It’s an honorable job. We are happy to be here and happy to help,” Douglas said.

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