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Firefighter leaves big boots to fill

We know it was difficult for friends, co-workers and fellow firefighters to say so long to Denton Fire Battalion Chief Tommie Nations during his retirement ceremony last week.

After 37 years, Nations — one of the department’s most respected members — leaves some big boots to fill.

“He was super dedicated to his job,” Fire Chief Ross Chadwick told us. “It will be hard to replace him — he always showed up and was willing and able to go above and beyond. It’s not every day you come across someone that committed.”

Friends will tell you that such devotion to duty runs in Nations’ family. His father, Tommie Nations Sr., was the volunteer chief with the Lewisville Fire Department for more than 25 years.

Nations was born and raised in Lewisville, where he obviously learned the value of hard work and the importance of community service from his father’s example.

Last Wednesday, the younger Nations — now 65 — received a proper farewell at the Center for the Visual Arts, complete with a color guard salute.

Nations said it was at a New Year’s party decades ago that he realized being a firefighter might be right for him. Someone at the party told him that Denton was hiring and that he should take the test.

He did, and the rest is history.

Nations worked as a fire department driver from 1970 to 1973, but says his career didn’t “officially” start in his mind until he was hired the second time in 1976. From there, Nations worked his way up the ladder, attending schools and achieving certifications along the way. He was promoted to captain in 1980 and obtained battalion chief rank in 1996.

Nations earned a business degree from the University of North Texas in 1999.

Thanks to his determination and work ethic, Nations’ colleagues call him one of the department’s “hardest and most professional workers.”

His devotion to duty, they told us, has been inspirational to them.

Nations felt the time had come for him to move on, and although we’re sure that most would disagree, said he feels that the department needs to fill his position with more energy than he has now.

He also said he wants to start spending more time with his family. Nations and his wife, Kathy, have been married for six years. He has a daughter and son-in-law, Sarah and Josh DeLaMere, a grandson, Gavin, and two stepchildren, Chloe and Riley Pritchett. His older sister, Georgia Williams, lives in Lewisville.

Thanks, Tommie, for all you’ve done for Denton, for the fire department and the community.

You’ve set a great example for others to follow.