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In Prince George’s County, Maryland, Kentland VFD got some nice press when The Washington Post decided to ride-along. Reporter Michelle Boorstein and photographer Bill O’Leary take a look at life on Christmas Day at the all volunteer Company 33. Here’s an excerpt:
For a certain kind of firefighter, Kentland is legendary. It has a reputation for being tight, efficient and busy — particularly for an all-volunteer outfit. Its Web site gets 60,000 hits a day, and buffs follow its two Twitter accounts and Facebook page, which include routine updates and such goodies as the photo of a cranky, slightly drunk Santa who was extricated from a flipped taxi on the side of the Capital Beltway last weekend.
Seemingly every other inch of the firehouse is decorated with mementos, like plaques and T-shirts with such macho slogans as “We finish what others can’t” and “Go tough or go home” — or photos of memorable blazes. The firefighters, too, are decorated, with tattoos of “Kentland” common among those who have been around long enough to earn them.
The district Kentland serves includes rough areas and many needy families. On Tuesday, in between calls for a car that swerved into a highway embankment and smoke in an apartment building, a Kentland engine headed to a small complex with a sack of toys.
The driver, Michael Freeman, a 37-year-old D.C. firefighter, wore an elf hat. Patelis wore a New York Giants Santa hat. A mother, at first afraid to answer the knock on her window, silently cried as four burly men presented her 3-year-old son with trucks and puzzles.
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