WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)-- Their work is never done. People who protect you and your family are proving that again this Thanksgiving. Working to help keep folks safe and sound, instead of being home with their families.
"Today it's a little different, because we're all away from our families, but we’re all gonna make the best of it," firefighter Rodney Lester said. "We're here for the citizens to do what we can to help them."
Firefighters, doctors, nurses and police officers all over the Cape Fear region are skipping a traditional meal. Instead they are punching the time clock. They say it’s all part of the job.
"I do have family waiting, but they understand when you work in the medical field your first priority is the patients," said Brie Cline, assistant administrator at Port City Urgent Care.
Although they have to work, they're making the best of it by giving thanks for their second family: their coworkers.
"This office, we feel like a family, so it's like being with the family anyway," Cline said.
"Unfortunately, we don't get to spend that much time with our families on days that are holidays that we're working, so we spend our time with our second family here at the station," firefighter Oscar Cerda said.
At Wilmington Fire Department Headquarters, they celebrated with a home cooked meal, but what happens if the alarm sounds in the middle of their meal?
"We stop what we're doing at any time either eating or doing some other task," Cerda said. "We drop everything we're doing. We run to our trucks, get in our trucks and respond. So sometimes meals get cold by the time we get back."
In return for their sacrifice, gratitude is all they ask for.
"Appreciate your firefighters, because we're here today and we're away from our families so we could be here to look after your guys, and be careful cooking today," Lester said.
And of course, we can’t forget our troops on Thanksgiving. Our freedom is certainly something to be thankful for every day.