LUBBOCK, TX - Most dads take Father’s Day off to relax, but firefighters at the Lubbock Fire Department had a long day.
Firefighters at Station #1 work 24 hour shifts, even on some holidays. They responded to a fuel leak at the airport, in addition to a few fire and EMS calls overnight.
"We have been up all night long. I think we got up about four times between midnight and six this morning,” said firefighter Tyler Henderson.
Most firefighters’ schedules are typically 24 hours on, then 48 hours off. They say record-breaking temperatures have kept them particularly busy.
“We definitely know what we are getting into. We signed on to this job, and we know the schedule ahead of time,” firefighter Mark Copeland said, adding the hours are still long. "It's always hard for holidays.”
Copeland has two kids. He says his oldest is used to his unconventional schedule, but his youngest doesn’t always understand.
“There's a lot of phone calls from home, and FaceTimes, and things like that, where she is like, ‘I miss you Daddy,’ or ‘Wish you were home.’ That kind of thing,” Copeland said.
These firefighting dads plan holidays ahead of time, celebrating before or after their shifts.
“For us, it is whenever we are home. So these guys are gonna go home tonight, and this evening is going to be our Father's Day, whereas other people were celebrating this morning or this afternoon,” Henderson said. “Same with Christmas or New Years or anything like that. If you are here, you are here, and if you aren't then you just make the time around you and your family, and so it makes it special.:”
It's a sacrifice they're willing to make to serve their community doing a job they love.
“It hurts sometimes, but you get used to it. And it just makes being at home that much more special,” Copeland said. He and his family plan to go out for Father’s Day dinner, when Dad’s shift is over.
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