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Police, firefighters mix holiday cheer with work
Before entering the world of married life, Brunswick Fire Marshal Rhett Fairfield spent Christmases at the firehouse to give his colleagues with families some time at home.

But that did not mean he missed out on holiday feasts.

Families of firefighters at both the Brunswick and Glynn County fire departments regularly cooked and delivered meals for loved ones on duty or went to the firehouse to cook.

It's a tradition that still goes on today.

Fairfield said it is a nice way to merge a firefighter's work family with the real one.

"This is pretty much our home away from home," Fairfield said of the firehouses.

Many firefighters will wake up early before their shifts start on Christmas Day and open presents with their children before heading into work. Later in the day, many of their families will stop by for a meal.

At the Glynn County Fire Department, the tradition is similar. Deputy Chief Ray Marat said the men and women of his department are usually able to get a taste of family while they are working.

Police officers who work on Christmas also tend to find time for family.

Brunswick Police Capt. Kevin Jones said the tradition in the city is for the Citizens Observer Program to provide a meal for the officers on duty.

"Sometimes their families come and eat with them too," Jones said.

Like Fairfield, Jones said he would trade shifts with officers who had families when he was single, a practice other police officers follow today.

Glynn County Police Chief Matt Doering said his officers are often afforded enough time on their lunch or dinner breaks to go home for a meal while other officers cover their calls.

"Usually it is a very quiet day," Doering said.

* Reporter Michael Hall writes about public safety, environment and other local topics. Contact him at, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 320.

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