Fire chief spends Thanksgiving delivering special shipments to employees
Orlando, Florida. While most people spend their day at home surrounded by family, many of our first responders work. Mark Schulmeyer, Brevard County Fire Chief, started a tradition of trying to make it easier for his employees.
For the past eight years, Schulmeyer and his wife, Jessica, have spent Thanksgiving stopping at every county fire station and serving homemade waffles.
“Although they are not pretty,” he said, “it is a token and gesture of thanks to you for all that you do.”
Driving over 250 miles starts at 6 a.m. and takes about 12 hours.
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“It’s 33 stations, in addition to our dispatch center, and this year, we’ll be landing one at the First Flight Medical Helicopter in Melbourne,” he said.
They hope the baked goods will take away some of the work and family gloom.
“I had 33 years with the department and knew what work licenses were,” he said. “Being away from your family is difficult, especially for those with young children.”
Some firefighter families will come to visit the fire station and even bring dinner, Schulmeyer said, but holidays as a first responder lead to new and different traditions.
“Our best family memories were the kids who came to eat at Thanksgiving. Birthdays were never on Christmas; they were either the day before or the day after.
When duty calls and it’s time to put on a helmet, Schulmeyer said you won’t hear many complaints.
“Whether it’s a vacation, a weekend, or a night out, we’re here 24/7 for the community,” he said.
Schulmeyer said that this year was probably the most special year for him and his wife. He said he’s already going to retire in March, so this year was his last.
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