Longview Firefighters On Christmas Duty - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/25/05-Longview

Longview Firefighters On Christmas Duty

While most East Texans were enjoying Christmas with family and friends, firefighters were on the job protecting lives and being on call to fight fires.

Like many other fire crews around the country, the men of Longview Station 6 would spend their entire 24-hour shift without seeing their families on Christmas day. "I find that every shift is tough leaving home, especially having a new little one at the house, like any other day," said firefighter Olan Doxey.

Many like 16-year veteran fire captain Howard Harris, have worked a lot of Christmas days away from family, but it never gets any easier. "Time away from my family even though my kids are mostly grown we had out Christmas on Friday night instead of Christmas day we've done that a lot in years past" said Harris. 

"This is my first time to work Christmas day as a married man with a kid. It's difficult, more difficult on my family than for me," said Station 6 firefighter Josh Tanner.

They tried to have a makeshift Christmas dinner before the next call came in. Taking medical and emergency calls, they try to keep their mind on work, and not where they'd rather be.

Firefighter Brian Vickery's father was a 26-year veteran firefighter with Longview, and he now appreciates what his father went through. "Now I'm starting to feel like what he felt like on Christmas day. We're all home, opening Santa gifts and he's got to be here, away from his family. I'm getting a little taste of it now," said Vickery.

Many have gotten used to celebrating and exchanging gifts several days before they are due to work the holiday.

Bob Hallmark reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com

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