Fire Capt. Roger Reed has been a part of the Monterey Fire Department Station No. 1 fire crew for more than 40 years. In that time, he’s eaten a lot of the station-cooked dinners that go along with the job. Everyone helps out, from experienced cooks making a main course, to the inexperienced who do prep work like cutting carrots or preparing a salad.
Weekly: Who does most of the cooking in the station?
Reed: We kind of take turns, we have a lot of people who are pretty accomplished chefs, and the people who aren’t are the sous chefs.
What makes dinners at the station special?
It a chance to have family time. It’s time for us to get together and talk about our days and give each other a time for certain things. A lot of the time it’s just camaraderie.
So it’s like a family?
Absolutely. We are all part of a bigger group that work together, train together, and play together.
Do you remember a time when there wasn’t a station dinner?
I’ve been here since the 1980s and we’ve done dinner since then. The fire dinners have been a tradition since we started having fire stations.
Do you ever just order pizza or take out instead of cooking?
Yes, yes we do. We did that yesterday, actually.
Are fire departments unique among first responders in that you do dinners together?
I think fire service is unique in that we reside in a company. Ambulance crews are usually based off their unit so they don’t have a station where they stay at. Police are usually there by themselves and they don’t have that luxury. So I think we’re really lucky to have what we have.