“It’s part of what they’ve signed up for," she said. "They are there to help, to serve and to protect. They wouldn’t be happy unless that’s what they were doing.”
Konie and Craig Humphreys have four kids whose ages span from 10 to 18. While her husband has been gone often, Konie admits they’ve been lucky.
“We’ve never had to have a Christmas without him,” she said. “That’s something that’s unheard of.”
While her husband has done his fair share of running into burning buildings, he now performs more administrative duties and enjoys a 9-to-5 workday.
And the extra time with his kids has paid off. The Humphreys’ oldest son wants to be a firefighter — just like his dad.
The Kartchners made the decision to take a pay cut for a more family-friendly schedule. The decision has strengthened relationships for the whole family, especially the Kartchners' boys.
“My 11-year-old idolizes his dad," Heidi said. "He always wants to just sit by him. When (Kolby) is putting on his shoes, even, my son is right there next to him."
Talk it out
Konie Humphreys found that the demands her husband’s job places on her strengthens her abilities as a parent.
The Humphreys family has learned they can talk with each other about anything. Communication has become an essential part of their family makeup.
“It makes you really want to have a close relationship with your kids," she said. "You want to be able to talk to them about the hard things like life and death. You can’t just keep things of the surface."
Over the years, Humphreys has learned to be more in tune with what her kids are feeling, and her kids have learned that they have a lifeline in their mother.
"They know they can talk to me about anything," she said.
A proud wife
Despite the nights sleeping alone, and never mind the unscheduled calls for help that disrupt their daily flow of life, both women are proud of the professions.
“I’m grateful there are people out there who are willing to go and help us and defend our homes and properties," Konie Humphreys said. "I don’t know where we would be without them."
And even though her husband, like so many others, isn’t in the spotlight, Humphreys said she is aware of the silent and, at times, thankless service her husband performs every day.
Heidi Kartchner agrees.
“My life is good,” she said. “It’s something that I’m proud to be. And even though we don’t advertise it, I’m proud of my husband.”
Emmilie Buchanan is an intern for the Deseret News with Mormon Times. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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