Being a Father and a Firefighter

June 16, 2013 Updated Jun 16, 2013 at 6:31 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

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June 16, 2013 Updated Jun 16, 2013 at 6:31 PM EDT

BUFFALO (WKBW) Being a firefighter and a father may be two of the toughest jobs around, and on Father's Day here in Western New York both were honored and recognized for all that they do.

A brunch for firefighters and their families held at the Convention Center Downtown Sunday morning served as both as a memorial to firefighters who lost their lives, and a celebration of all those who serve in the profession, many of whom were also celebrating Father's Day.

"So we're here to celebrate all together as a family, as an extended family. And that just means so much on Father's Day. It just exemplifies what we stand for as firemen," Buffalo Fire Commissioner Garnell Whifield said.

Patrick Herbert had to do both of his jobs at once, wearing his fire uniform while watching his 11 month old daughter Hannah.

"He's proud to be a dad and he's proud to be a firefighter and I think to have it come together is the best of both worlds. And he really is a happy guy today and a proud guy today," Herbert's wife Carrie said.

Fireman and dad Michael McNatty says he is always a father first, but believes balancing his personal life and his profession is a rewarding challenge.

"It's tough to manage, but you temper the family with the family at the firehouse and give them both equal respect and equal love and what you get back from it is countless," McNatty said as he fed his newborn daughter.

That sense of family that many firefighters speak about can also be contagious between father and son. Firefighter Eric Witkowski's young son said he wants to follow his father's footsteps and become a fireman.

"I'm glad that he looks up to me and when he grows up that he wants to be something that has a good profession for him," Witkowski added as his son played around wearing his father's hat.