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Firefighter families gather at station for holiday

Around 40 people meet at Station 8 in Colorado Springs

Firefighter Families Celebrate Thanksgiving

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Thanksgiving often means some firefighters have to work and spend the holiday away from their families.  But that wasn't the case Thursday at Station 8 near Academy Boulevard and Airport Road in Colorado Springs.

During their down time, some firefighters cooked turkey and ham.  Their families brought side dishes and everyone shared a meal in the station around 4:30 p.m.

Lt. Mike Smaldino said firefighters have created an annual tradition to share meals with family on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The Waldo Canyon Fire last summer, he said, makes families especially thankful to be together this year.

"We reflect on that," said Smaldino.  "As firefighters, we lost a lot of homes that we're sworn to protect.  We're proud of the fact that none of us was seriously injured or (personally) lost homes."

Smaldino said some firefighters will choose the celebrate the holiday a day or two before or after Thanksgiving.  But several family members said they were happy to be with firefighters on the day of the holiday.

"It makes me happy because it would mean a lot to me," said 9-year-old Tori Mather.  "We can spend time with him on the most special day."

"I think it's neat," said Tanya Apuron, the wife of a firefighter.   "I think it's something that we want to keep, for our families to know this is a tradition to keep togetherness.  I think you can do it on any day, though."

A fire call just before the scheduled dinner time threatened to cancel the meal.  However, the fire was minor and the firefighter families went on with their dinner.

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