Shawnee firefighters who spent Thanksgiving working say they’re thankful for coworkers who are like family

SHAWNEE, Kan. – Thanksgiving might be a time for family but Shawnee firefighters at Station 71 know they could be in store for a wild ride.

“When you hear those tones you know it`s time to go to work and do your job no matter what it is, no matter when it is. You just got to get up and go,” Johnny Middleton, a firefighter at Station 71, said.

This year firefighters had a steady flow of calls that began with a fire alarm at an apartment complex in Shawnee. There was no fire.

“We got a little girl that may have pulled a pull station, Cap.”

But there was an appreciation from residents awaiting Middleton and the crew.

“He said just, `thank you for working today. It means a lot to us.` It just shows that people are actually thankful for us not being with our families today and working holidays,” Middleton said.

However firefighter Ryan Rivera had to watch one family say goodbye to a loved who collapsed in a driveway in North Shawnee Thursday morning.

“It`s a day that`s not supposed to be sad. It`s supposed to be happy, but unfortunately bad and sad things happen on days like today,” Rivera said.

While most first responders are not with their immediate families, they are grateful to be working with each other.

“You`re with a second family, and we`re all here for each other, and we get to embrace the day together and just enjoy our time,” Rivera said.

It’s time these firefighters are happy to give to make sure families can enjoy the day and be together for many more holidays to come.

“It`s just powerful I guess and just knowing that it`s our job and our duty to save somebody, to save somebody`s life and just to know that we can and will do anything we can do that. It`s just a part of the job,” Middleton said.