Most of us enjoyed Thanksgiving with the family, but some were ready to spring into action despite the occasion Thursday.

Fire fighters, doctors, nurses, law enforcement, and select others either celebrated the holiday early or waited until their shift ended. They have made this unselfish sacrifice so you would be safe and protected in case of an emergency.

Professions like these and a few others do not understand what a holiday actually is, but they knew this coming into the profession.

"We find a way to work it out," said Paul Gilliard, a fire fighter with the Milton Fire Department. "(My wife) would rather have me at home, but it is just the way the shift falls."

Gillard pointed out this year he has worked every holiday this year so far and he knows that Christmas Day and New Years Eve are on his schedule as well.

"This is the career path I chose and I work with it," Gilliard said. "When you have kids you celebrate early or you do it really early in the morning."

Fire fighters, like Gilliard at the Milton Fire Department, have to report by 7 a.m., but are expected to be there early so the shift commander knows if he needs to keep someone over or call someone in.

Law enforcement is the same according to Sgt. Scott Haines, with the Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Department.

"We know what shifts we have to work and there is not a lot of adjusting to the schedules, if any at all," Haines said. "We just work around the holidays when it comes to things with our friends or family."

Sometime there are very special moments where someone who has grown kids or is not going to be with their family offers to help a fellow officer or fire fighter.

That was the case a couple of years ago for Milton Fire Fighters Steve Maddox.

"Sometimes a fireman will work to let one with kids enjoy the time with their family," Maddox said. "One Christmas Lt. Randy Hendrix's wife was working and he called me and told me to enjoy my time with my family and kids.

"I am looking forward to the day I can pay that back to a fire fighter who was in that situation when I get older."

So how do they pass the time in a fire house?

"We do things to keep busy," Gilliard said. "We might work out, cook, or watch some football after we get all of our daily duties done."

While some are scheduled to work, there are others like those at Lifegaurd Ambulance Service who volunteered their time this weekend.

Those volunteers worked to help assist those in area nursing homes and assisted living centers, who were able, to spend the holiday with their families through their program Home For the Holidays.