First responders embrace commitment to working on Thanksgiving

Firefighters, police officers say working holidays 'just part of the job'

By Colter Anstaett - Southside Bureau Reporter

DANVILLE, Va. - Thanksgiving is traditionally a day filled with lots of family and food.

Danville firefighter Tom Collins and his fellow firefighters on duty Thursday didn't let their work keep them from continuing that tradition.

"This year, we decided to do pork instead of the traditional turkey because we're all going to have turkey leftovers, hopefully, tomorrow," Collins said. "We're doing a pork barbecue and fixing all kinds of stuff with it."

Taking time to celebrate the holiday even though they can't be home with their families is part of what helps them get through the day.

Firefighter Travis Poteat said being flexible also helps, especially when you have kids at home.

"Luckily, I have a small child. Every day's a holiday for her. We'll just celebrate our holiday tomorrow," Poteat said.

Capt. Darryl Turpin said having a supportive family doesn't make working on a holiday easier, but can make the sacrifice easier to bear.

"It helps you manage it. It lightens that burden a little bit," Turpin said.

The acts of generosity that often take place around Thanksgiving can make the holiday worth looking forward to, and therefore make working on the holiday not seem so bad.

Martinsville Police Department Sgt. Jeremy Purvis said he does, in fact, look forward to working on the holiday.

"I've worked, probably, more Thanksgivings than I've been off since I've been here, so I kind of look forward to it. It's just another day," Purvis said.

Wednesday, Purvis and the rest of his shift helped get a bunch of groceries dropped off at the police department anonymously to help two families in need in Martinsville.

"(I) contacted one of our local pastors to see if he knew of anybody in need. He said he did," Purvis explained. "I was glad to be of assistance to them."

Effort like that by the first responders working on Thanksgiving is something we can all be thankful for.

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