By Tammy Moore Teague
Two words describe life for the Sizemores, service and sacrifice. Tommy Sizemore, Barling’s Fire Chief, and his wife Jennifer, have made a life together, adjusting to the difficulties and celebrating the successes of the family’s fire life.
The Sizemores moved to Barling in March of 2017. Tommy had been working 48-hour shifts, and was only home once every three days. After making the move, the couple rediscovered life together. “He is now in the office in the day time so I come down and bring him lunch sometimes,” Jennifer explained. “Thats the good thing about a small department, you can work and have a family.”
This change was in stark contrast to the last 26 years. “I can count on one hand how many times he had been home at Christmas. Sometimes I felt like a single mother, but I would do my best to compensate as I support my husband and the kids understood their dad had to work.”
Tommy Sizemore worked two full time jobs so she could stay home and take care of their four children, Josh, T.J., Austin and Andrew. “He takes pride in everything he does,” his wife explained. Adding “It’s a calling and a lifelong thing.” He finds it difficult to turn off that part of his life. He admittedly still listens to radio calls of the departments he used to work for, noting it’s because he’s invested in the work he’d poured into them.
When he began considering a move, Jennifer was initially resistant. But, when Tommy interviewed in Barling she came with him and saw the area and knew if this was a door God was opening, they were prepared to walk through it together. “He just kept opening those doors and I knew this was where we needed to be,” she said.
The couple have been married 26 years. The life they’ve shared is built on principal. Jennifer refers to the department as “ours” and is admired as the station mother. Jennifer shared a quote Tommy uses frequently. “It doesn’t cost a penny to do the right thing.”
Doing the right thing is a principal the Sizemores have taught their children, and one Tommy has integrated into his department. He recalled responding to a patient who had been mowing the grass. After being transported to the hospital, one of his crew members stayed behind and finished mowing.
The fire life, the life the couple has built together, is an amazing story of service and sacrifice. They are an asset, not only to the Fire Department, but the community as a whole.
This was part two in a series. You can read part one, here.