Firefighters Working For Deployed Colleague
Crew Trying To Save Job For Buddy Who's Overseas

POSTED: 10:00 a.m. EST March 28, 2003
UPDATED: 10:16 a.m. EST March 28, 2003

MANCHESTER, N.H. -- In East Derry, there's a fire station that is a true example of how people here are supporting our troops.

WMUR's Kevin Flynn reported that a locker still holds the turnout gear of firefighter Tony Rossignol, but now it's gathering more dust than it does soot. His helmet bears an Army infantry sticker. Rossignol is a reservist who was activated in October.

His colleagues in the firehouse did not want to see his family lose his paycheck while he was overseas. Firefighter James Foley said Rossignol's "wife is pregnant.

"We were concerned about him. So we figured the easiest way to do this would be able to keep him on the books if we were able to cover his shift," Foley said.

The plan was for everyone in the department to work each of Rossignol's days, each taking a 24-hour shift. Doing so would hold his job and keep money and benefits going to his family.

"Everyone was all for it. They didn't have to be asked twice. Everyone signed up on a sheet for the times that were available," Fire Captain Michael Halpin said.

The men in the service know that the fire helmet is a combat helmet too, and that those who would wear it are called to a certain duty, which is why they understand that calling and are rallying around their own band of brothers.

"I'm kind of lucky," Foley said. "I'm protected over here. I don't have the hazards that he has over there. I don't know what misery he's going to feel or how he's going to come back."

On one recent day, Rossignol was scheduled to drive Engine 81. But instead, Foley answers the call to fight a fire while Rossignol fights for freedom. It's their way of maintaining the home front.

"If you want to say it's something you're doing for your country, or something you're doing for Tony, or you're just trying to help out a brother. That's all you're trying to do. Just help out a brother," Foley said.