Firefighters at home and abroad

By: Emi FitzGerald Email
By: Emi FitzGerald Email

SHERMAN -- Fighting fires at home and abroad, serving their communities and their country. One Sherman firefighter is preparing to leave for his tour of duty in Iraq. Members of the department say his departure hits them especially hard.

When Sherman fire chief Jeff Jones hired Brent Baca a year ago, he knew Brent was a Marine and could face deployment. After talking more they realized Chief Jones’ son, James, is in the same unit.

Now both men are leaving for Iraq next week and Jones says it's like saying goodbye to two sons. For Brent Baca the thrill of the moment is an exciting part of his career as a firefighter.

"I would say the adrenaline rush, running into a house while it's on fire, it's definitely something," Brent said.

Brent learned how to fight fires after joining the Marine Corps six years ago. Now he faces his first overseas tour of duty as he goes to Iraq with someone who's like family, his fire chief's son.

"Like my son, Brent joined the fire service for the right reasons and he also joined the Marines for the right reasons and both these young men are doing a great service both to their community here and to their nation. And I'm just really proud of them," Chief Jones said.

James Jones works as an EMT and firefighter in Van Alstyne and wanted to become a fire fighter after growing up and watching his dad serve the community.

He joined the Marine Corps reserve to serve his country.

"I've got a passion for both. I've got a passion for being a Marine; I have a passion for being a fireman. And I get to use my training and come home and serve my community. It means a lot to me," James said.

Both Brent and James say they're dealing with many emotions as they prepare to leave. Brent and his wife are expecting their first child, but both men say seeing a familiar face will bring comfort even when they're far from home.

"It's a face from home, somebody I can have a look at and see his dad; they look exactly alike to me. It feels good to have somebody from home," Brent said.

"They can look across the sand from each other and have a connection back home," Chief Jones said.

Chief Jones says they plan to fly a family flag at the central fire station in Sherman in honor of the two. Brent and James unit is expected to be deployed for at least a year.


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