WAGRAM — Some people just can’t get enough of helping others. In Daniel Locklear’s case, that satisfaction come from the fire service.
“He is the one you can count on — he always wants to jump in and help,” Denise Locklear said about her nephew. “And I think he should be recognized for the volunteer work he does.”
Daniel puts in plenty of volunteer time — and faces a lot of fires — with the North Scotland Fire Department and the North Carolina Forestry Service. He is also employed full-time at Smithfield.
But lately, he’s been chasing wildfires in Montana. He left the Aug. 2 and is in his second season of firefighting away from home.
“He saves his PTO (paid time off) so he can go,” Denise said, adding that the trips aren’t easy. She said he has had to bring a hammock, or stay in a gym while out of state fighting fires — and wash his clothes at a laundromat.
The challenge is also passed on to Daniel’s family — his wife of eight years, Paige, and their two daughters, Kaylee, 11, and Kaydence, 7.
“Being away from home is really hard for him, he gets homesick really quick,” Paige said. “They (the girls) miss him a lot. We try to talk to him at least once a day whenever he comes in at night. But sometimes he is in places where they don’t get reception …”
Paige said her husband has volunteered to fight fires since he was 17
“He is caring,” she added. “He loves to help others and he is passionate about what he does. He loves firefighting.”
Along the way, Daniel has also formed numerous lasting friendships fighting fires.
“We are all like family,” Paige said. “We have our Christmas dinners, cookouts and everything … everybody keeps in touch.”
Paige says her husband’s projected return date is Saturday.
Jael Pembrick can be reached at 910-506-3169 or [email protected]