JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - For first responders, the holiday is more about serving and protecting the community than relaxing and enjoying Thanksgiving.
“It doesn’t matter what is the situation: COVID, Christmas or Thanksgiving we are always here,” Captain Michael McCellesis said.
Instead of celebrating Thanksgiving with his wife and kids, Jackson Fire Department Captain Michael McCellesis is spending another holiday on the clock and working at the Jackson Fire Department.
“We never know what the day brings. It could be a house fire, a car fire, or maybe a medical call or maybe it’s nothing, but we are always here just in case anything happens,” Captain McCellesis.
It’s a more than 20-year tradition for him to work on Thanksgiving and he says it never gets easy.
“It is difficult. We maintain by spending time with fellow firefighters, we cook here and sometimes our families bring us food. This is my second family, so we have all adjusted,” Captain McCellesis.
Over in Byram, the sound of sirens could be heard blaring as police work to keep the city safe on Thanksgiving.
“Anybody looking to do wrong needs to know we’re out there and just like they’re looking for victims we are looking for them, “Sergeant Kevin Turner said.
Sergeant Kevin Turner and his team also admit it is a sacrifice for them to leave their homes and spend the holiday doing patrols to do property checks for people who are away for a long period of time.
He says it’s all part of protecting and serving.
“It is a temporary inconvenience because you rather be with family, but it just the way it fell. It is necessary part of the job.”
They say during this COVID-19 pandemic everyone has had to adjust in some way, so they are just thankful to be able to do what they love, even on a holiday.
“When I have caught myself complaining about the job or complaining about something until you see someone who doesn’t have a job anymore, so it makes you a little more thankful,” said Turner.
“It is a different time for everybody. Not everyone is blessed with a home, heat, or a place to stay, so it can be tough. We just want people to be safe during this holiday season,” McCellesis said.