Medford, Ore. — With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, Medford Fire and Rescue is gearing up for a special surprise.
Life as a firefighter is unpredictable. “We have a schedule of what we are going to do that day, but that can all go out the window base on the emergency calls that come in,” Medford Firefighter Mike Haughey said.
In a moment’s notice, firefighters like Haughey have to drop everything and rush out the door when a call comes in.
Haughey has been a professional firefighter for 15 years, 6 of those spend in Medford. He said he enjoys the whirlwind career. “It’s an exciting job, which is why we do it. Every day is different.”
But firefighting isn’t the only job that takes the breath out of him.
When he’s not on call, Haughey is with his playing with his band. “We’re practicing bagpipes every day.’
It’s not an easy instrument to play. Haughey said, “It’s a very physical instrument, takes lung capacity and blowing to keep it going.”
Haughey started playing when he was 13-years-old and has brought the tradition to the fire department. “I’ve been playing bagpipes longer than I’ve been a firefighter,” he said.
His band consists of one other piper and three drummers–all of them are Medford firefighters.
Haughty said, “You show up with pipes and drums and it’s quite a bit of noise and excitement that comes with it.”
But according to Haughty, getting the band together isn’t easy. Each band member has a different shift, which makes practicing hard. “We’ll try to practice on duty as calls allowed but we might be practicing and a call comes in so we have to drop and go.”
But until that call comes in, Haughey said, “We’re just doing this for fun.”
Medford Fire Pipes and Drums will host their third annual Saint Patrick’s Pub Crawl Friday night starting at 6:00.
© 2023 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.