Meet Thomas Mabra, a 27-year veteran of the Fire Department. Over those 20 plus years, Thomas has been a firefighter with Sac Fire and, this week, will be hanging up his turn-outs and living the retired life.
As he says it, the fire service found him.
“I was working as a teller for Wells Fargo, when one of the firefighters came in to make a deposit. He asked if I had ever thought of the fire department as a career, and informed me that they were accepting applications to take the next entry exam,” Thomas said. “I signed up, and took the test.”
Two years later, Thomas was called into an interview and three weeks later he entered the academy.
When asked of a memorable moment, Thomas responded with this:
“There have been several. But, if I had to pick one, it would be a pull that Engine 56 made. I was solo on the hose line, holding the fire at bay, while the rest of my crew did the search and made the pull. The entire front of the house was involved and I was the only barrier to the fire engulfing the hallway and the back of the house.”
Although Thomas was just doing his job, he says that was not the memorable part, but what followed after that fire event.
“A couple weeks after that call, the husband of the lady we saved came to the station to thank us. He had made sure that the entire crew was there, and that he had the right shift,” Thomas said. “He arrived bearing a thank you card and three 10-pound beef loins. He sat and talked with us for a long while, until the alarm sounded again. That gratitude, which we see only once in a while, was what moved me. That is what this job is all about.”
Following retirement, Thomas plans to head back to school and study culinary arts. (The photo with a Fox 40 reporter was just before he was about to demonstrate cooking safety with a turkey fryer.)
When asked about other information he’d like to share, he shared his priorities in life and what this profession has meant to him:
“My wife and children are at the top of the list. And right behind them is my career. We are so privileged to be in a profession that provides us with a sense of worth, a feeling of accomplishment, and the knowledge that we are making a difference. The entertainment value is, at times, priceless. And the paycheck ain’t bad.”