(COLORADO SPRINGS) — The Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD) gave thanks and celebrated together and with their family members on Thanksgiving.

“It’s so much fun because our crews are like a second family,” said Colorado Springs firefighter Justin Cihak. “So it’s a bit of a shame that we have to move away from our normal families. But most of the time they usually come down and celebrate the day with us. So everyone, it’s just fun.”

In Station 1, the kitchen was full of firefighters cooking their signature dishes and watching football.

“Thanksgiving is special for people like me who aren’t from Colorado and who we consider our family far from home,” said Michael Salas, Colorado Springs firefighter.

A new addition to her day invites her family to the station for Thanksgiving dinner.

“It’s very, very special,” said Salas. “You know, my kids grew up at the fire station and it’s really, really cool to just hang out with these guys for another day and just share the holidays.”

In terms of what makes this Thanksgiving different than years past, Cihak said it’s allowing his families to accommodate after a few years of pandemic restrictions.

“This year is different because we’re kind of going back to normal pre-pandemic routine,” Cihak said. “For a couple of years, families weren’t allowed to come to the train station, so it was a bit of a shame we couldn’t have that big family dinner. And now we return to this routine. So it’s nice that everyone can come back.”

Several dishes on the Thanksgiving menu include mac n’ cheese, cranberry sauce, ham, brisket, and vegetables. Cihak said he was “responsible for the ham and the breast.”

While not celebrating at home, Station 1 firefighters create their own Thanksgiving traditions.

“Having a seven-year-old daughter, I know she loves it,” Cihak said. “It’s something not everyone can do. So it is definitely a different holiday routine.”

When asked what he’s grateful for, Cihak replied, “I’m grateful for my family, our health and then just that I have a good crew to work with every day.”

A day of gratitude and surrounded by new and old families.

“It’s amazing…my kids grew up in the firehouse. We grew up with those families too,” Cihak said. “It’s just, it’s almost like I never left home.”

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