Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Closer Look at Firefighters Finds Friends, Neighbors

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Closer Look at Firefighters Finds Friends, Neighbors

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Dixon, Special to the Times-Union

For well more than a year now, Americans have been fascinated by police officers and firefighters.

We have found ways of honoring these men and women, giving them thanks, particularly for their actions during and after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks, but also because we are more acutely aware that we sleep better knowing they are on duty.

The other night from my kitchen window, I saw a fire engine and rescue ambulance pull up at the residence next door. The men and women and their equipment were from Fire Station No. 10, across the tracks from Roosevelt Boulevard and McDuff Avenue.

The chief at No. 10 is Phill Eddins of Shorewood Road, a man with 28 years' service in the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department. He is such a role model that his son is a firefighter in Nassau County.

Eddins, who began at Station No. 18 at Moncrief Road and Myrtle Avenue, spends most of his time with the department, a great deal of it overseeing specialized training instituted since 9/11. Otherwise, he enjoys spending time around his house with his wife and grandchild.

Sam Mays of Oakhaven Road, a 15-year veteran, is a father of two and the son of a 33-year firefighter.

"I grew up fighting fires and just decided to keep it going," he said.

Another firefighter at the station is Miranda Tator, who lives with her husband and two pets in St. Augustine. Her husband is at the No. 17 station at Beaver and Huron streets. The couple have the same work schedule in Jacksonville and in St. Augustine, where they teach for the St. Johns County Fire Department.

"This certainly helps with the gas," Tator said.

Lt. Ernest Glover is so tall that he explained the difficulty he recently had on a small plane going to the Bahamas. It was a tight fit, even using the seat with the most foot room behind the exit, he said. …

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