Firefighter Calixto Anaya, Jr.

 

 

 

Calixto Anaya Jr. once worked for United Parcel Service.

He hated the crazy schedule, especially around the holidays.

“We’d never see him,” said Marie, his wife of 12 years. “He’d get up in the morning before the kids went to school and come home after they were in bed.”

So Anaya, who everyone called Charlie, became a New York City firefighter. The job allowed him to spend more time with his three small children, to coach their softball and football teams and to spend lazy summer evenings swimming with them in the family pool. “He was so affectionate with the kids,” Marie Anaya said. “He was a teddy bear.”

Anaya loved being a firefighter. A former Marine who re-enlisted when the Persian Gulf War began, he enjoyed the military-style camaraderie of the firehouse. In fact, he was so fond of the job that he became a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Suffern, N.Y. He kept a fire scanner at home and when the tones would sound, indicating a call, he would leap to action, his wife recalled. “He could be in the deepest sleep and as soon as that thing went off, he’d be up,” she said. “He loved the adrenaline.”

Anaya was also proud to be an American. He flew the flag before it was fashionable, not just in front of the house but also on family camping trips and beach outings. “The first thing he would do is put the American flag up,” Marie Anaya said.

Before Sept. 11, the couple always told guests searching for their house to look for the American flag out front. Now, a flag flies from every house on the street.

--Daniela Altimari (The Hartford Courant)

             

 

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