2023 marks the third year Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue plans to host an appreciation luncheon benefitting local firefighters. Both current and retired members TFR will be honored during the event at the Fire Administration office, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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International Firefighters' Day is on May 4 each year, and the luncheon will actually take place across three days, May 3-5, to accommodate all shifts of Tuscaloosa's 259 sworn in personnel.

"This job is about heart," said Fire Chief Randy Smith.

"You've got to really enjoy and love serving the community you work and live in."

For the past three years, TFR has partnered with local businesses and organizations to carry out the luncheon. Robertson’s BBQ will be catering in 2023 as the event plans to host over 300.

Chief Smith says the community's embrace and aid of his staff doesn't go unnoticed or unappreciated.

"Our guys have loved it, it's been overwhelming."

"Firefighters don't really expect a 'thank you' for doing our jobs," Smith says, "but it's nice when the community supports little things like this."

In years past, representatives of local media and the Alabama football team - including coach Nick Saban and offensive tackle Landon Dickerson - have showed their support via video messages and other donations.

Public education, hazardous materials response and rescue all also fall under the wide-ranging scope of responsibilities firefighters face in 2023.

"We do more than just fight fires nowadays, we are what we consider a multi-service organization," Smith says, "anything the community needs, we can respond to that need."

TFR plans to host their second annual event of the year, a Firefighter Appreciation Banquet, in October during National Fire Prevention month.

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