GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Pat Sullivan began his long and storied career at the Gulfport Fire Department 35 years ago, a young, fresh recruit on his first job.
Thursday, he spent his last day on the job packing up memorabilia, not to mention memories.
"It is family," Sullivan said. "You're here 24 hours with these guys and you learn their ups and downs. And you go through births and divorces and all of their trials and tribulations and they go through all of yours and you build a bond."
Walking through the firehouse for the last time, Sullivan knows that technology has changed the world of firefighting forever.
"You have to stay up with technology because it changes so quickly in this industry. The equipment that you use, the type of equipment that you use and the training that you have to have on that equipment has changed."
One thing that has not changed, going into a burning building is still risky business.
"It's not without a measure of danger and it's always in the back of your mind that the potential, the worst case scenario is that somebody's going to get killed."
But Sullivan said the rewards of the job outweigh the danger.
"That's why we're here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We're responding, we're training, we're preparing ourselves to go out a make a difference, to protect lives first and property second."
Sullivan summed up his 35 year long career with a simple, but defining statement.
"Oh, I'm going to miss it dearly."
Sullivan hopes to continue in some public safety capacity with another agency. He is also an accomplished photographer.