I grew up in a volunteer rural fire service family.
Where Dad would be just as likely as not to get called out in the middle of Christmas dinner.
When some summer days when someone else was milking the cows and there was a big fire, Dad might be gone for hours and hours and Mum would sit next to the two-way radio talking to central fire control (Dad was the captain of the Gerringong brigade for 25 years.)
Crackle, crackle, over.
Dad's yellow brigade overalls smelt of smoke.
The brigade always seems to be filled with champion people. Lifelong friends and people willing to drop everything, even when it's highy inconvenient, to answer a firecall. Because a firecall never comes at a convenient time. They're mostly in the middle of the night. Or when dinner has just been put on the table. Sometimes it's a fire. Sometimes it's a false alarm. Sometimes it's a car accident. And sometimes it's someone you know, particularly in a small town. Sometimes it's a friend's kid in a terrible car accident.
The Rural Fire Service is voluntary. They don't get paid. They partipate and go to training, and keep the fire engines clean and functioning and they get out of bed in the middle of the night if that beeper goes off, because it might be your house, and you might need them.
Tonight at our brigade's Christmas party, which we were at because Adam is a member, my Dad was presented with an award for fifty years of active service. Fifty years.
GO Dad. How awesome is that.