A Denison firefighter deployed thousands of miles away, turned 30 Tuesday. Although he's not celebrating the traditional way, some of his close friends and co-workers still managed to make it special.
Billy Mullins is with the Texas National Guard. He was deployed in June to Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, firefighters signed a birthday card to ship overseas.
Paul Graxiola went to paramedic school with Billy, and has worked with him for six years.
"Billy is a great guy, he's a lot of fun," Graxiola said. "Great partner, great team member, full of integrity and character. Awesome guy to be around."
Matthew Kelley, a fellow firefighter, said he's enjoyed working with Billy the last six years.
"You always trust Billy, he's always got your back," he said. "And knows his job, does his job really well."
Billy's coworkers said they're missing a great firefighter out in the field. But there's also fewer practical jokes around the station.
"With him you always kinda have to watch your back because you never know if he's gonna be around the corner trying to play a joke on you," Graxiola said.
His coworkers said he's the comedian around the station. Graxiola said he has some good stories about Billy - but none he could share on TV.
But they all say they can't wait for him to come home.
"Happy 30th birthday buddy, get home safely, and we miss you," Graxiola said.
"We're proud of him. And he's what makes this country great. Doing the sacrifices," Kelley said. "I know his wife and kids are here, and that's gotta be hard on him. But we're very proud of him, and he's in our prayers."
Billy is serving a nine month tour of duty. He's scheduled to come back home in May.
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