First responders are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to serve and protect the community.
This, of course, comes with sacrifices. Often those in the field are away from their loved ones on holidays like the Fourth of July.
At the Ardmore Fire Department, shift commander Rhett Hale and firefighters Dallas Scribner and Ethan Dixon awaited emergencies during the holiday. Earlier in the morning, the department responded to a crash on the interstate, Hale said.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a holiday or what, people still have emergencies and we still have to be here to respond and to take care of the people,” Hale said.
Normally the department would be anticipating grass fires from all the fireworks, but because this season has been more green than usual there haven’t been any issues yet, he said.
Whether it’s a slower period or not, it’s hard to be away from family most holidays, Hale said. But the Fourth of July is particularly tough to work because individuals are missing out on quality time at large celebrations, he said.
“They usually celebrate with their families the day before or the day after,” Hale said. “But with the Fourth of July families will all go to big firework shows and stuff tonight so it’s kind of hard to be away — especially the guys with kids. You know, they want to be there with them and can’t.”
Also away from family on the Fourth were Carter County law enforcement officers. Only half way through the day, Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant said it had been busy, with officers responding to several regular calls in the morning.
Bryant said the workload would probably pick up even more with firework complaints, fights, and other calls that come with the holiday.
“Everybody gets enough liquid courage in them,” he said.
But working during the holiday is a part of the trade, Bryant said.
“Of course everybody wants to spend time with their families and loved ones, but we’ve taken a job to protect and serve the community and the county that we live in and there has to be sacrifices unfortunately,” Bryant said.
Those sacrifices don’t go unnoticed in the Carter County community, however. Hale said the fire department has always received a lot of support during the holidays and year round.
“We’re pretty lucky around here in Ardmore,” Hale said. “When we’re out, we always get people coming up to say ‘Thank you, we appreciate what you do.’ So the people in Ardmore that we deal with have always been very appreciative and thankful for what we do.”
First responders working during the holiday were not only limited to firefighters and law enforcement officers. Others away from family on the Fourth of July were paramedics, emergency medical technicians and many other trained members associated with the field.
“The community of Carter County has been very forthcoming and very supportive of our law enforcement community and medical first responders — we’re all in this together,” Bryant said.