Daughter follows in Chesterfield dad’s firefighting footprints

Posted at 5:00 PM, Nov 02, 2017
and last updated 2019-01-03 14:31:20-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Even after 45 years on the job, Greg McCarraher cannot wait to get to work.

"I go to bed early the night before work because I can’t wait to get here," the Chesterfield Fire Battalion Chief said.

He need only open his locker to know he followed the right career path. Inside hangs a picture of his great-great grandfather, his great-grandfather, and his grandfather all on the same firetruck.

The 59-year-old Battalion Chief said when it came to finding a job -- he really had no choice.

"It shows me where I came from. And the people I don’t want to disappoint," he said. "I purposely look at that picture every morning because that is who I have to live up to. I have to finish what they started."

His ancestors before him fought fires in a small town outside Philadelphia starting back to the 1800s.

McCarraher joined the family business as a volunteer firefighter when he was just 14 years old.

"It is what my dad did. He was my hero. Why wouldn’t you want to do what your hero did," Greg McCarraher asked.

In 1986, Greg accepted a job with Chesterfield.

"It is almost like a bad habit. The more you do it. The more you like it," he said. "I don’t know what it is like to have a job. I really don’t."

Even after 45 years of fighting fires and serving others, the Battalion Chief said he was not thinking about walking away just yet. He's still having fun.

What this veteran Jake does know is that the McCarraher's fire fighting lineage will not stop with him.

His daughter Ryanne Holland takes pride in not only carrying the mantel, but a fire hose too.

"Manifest destiny. I really had no choice. It is in our blood," Ryanne said.

The Chesterfield firefighter appreciates being a part of such a special fraternity.

"Are you kidding me? He is my hero. I’m such Daddy’s girl. It is not even funny," Ryanne said.

In this family, helmets don’t fall far from the truck.

“I marvel at how much he knows and how much he remembers,” she said.

Ryanne’s proud papa could not be happier.

"It means more to me than I can express. I wish I could smile wider."

Greg McCarraher and Ryanne Holland. Father and Daughter. Serving as fifth and sixth generation firefighters.

Service to others does not stop with Battalion Chief Greg McCarraher and his daughter. Ryanne’s husband is also a firefighter and one of her brothers works in Chesterfield’s Emergency Communications Center. Another brother served four tours in Afghanistan with the United States Marine Corp.

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