By DAVID SWEARINGEN
EDITOR’S NOTE: Residents of Erath County are very fortunate to have many men and women who make living here safe, many of whom are volunteers. They are Hometown Heroes! These people keep us safe and we owe them our thanks and our respect. THANK YOU!
ERATH COUNTY (February 3, 2017) – This week The Flash Today would like to honor the 2016 Erath County Volunteer Firefighter of the Year, Tommy Shelton.
Shelton is one of the “Founding Fathers” of the Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue, a department created in 2003. A few of the department’s 30-something members are paid employees, but a large portion of them are volunteers.
“My heroes are the guys who volunteer their time as firefighters,” Shelton said. “They often have to leave their families in the middle of the night to help others. To me, that is a hero and they are so very important to our community.”
Shelton was born in Sulphur Springs in 1960 and moved to Stephenville when he was 10 years old. He has a sister, Robin Fanning, and is the son of Martha Shelton and the late Thomas W. Shelton. Tommy is married to Vicky Shelton and they have a son named Bruce, who is currently attending Texas A&M as a Foreign Languages major. Bruce is also a member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets and plans to join the United States Marine Corps after graduation.
Not only did Shelton graduated from Stephenville High School in 1978, but he also received a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Tarleton State University. He earned his EMT Certification in 1986 and received his Police Certification as well as his Fire Certification. He did some home building in the construction business along with his brother-in-law, Todd Fanning, before later getting into the Fire Service in 1989.
He said he has wanted to be a firefighter since he was a boy. He received his firefighting training in the Metroplex and he currently works Fire Rescue at the DFW Airport. He works 24 hours on and 48 hours off and can quite often be found at the Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue (ECVFR) building on his days off from his DFW Airport job.
Shelton said the days he puts in at ECVFR are typically 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. But, of course, when he is in town, he could get called out at anytime.
“A firefighter is typically running into a burning building when others are running out,” Shelton said. “I find this exciting and fulfilling, but this requires you to deal with other people’s tragedies.”
In his occasional time away from firefighting, Shelton tends to the cows and horses on their farm in the community of Oak Dale.
“On the farm, Vicky is boss,” Shelton jokes.
He is a past president of the Erath County Livestock Association, a 32nd Degree Mason in the Masonic Lodge, in the Scottish Rite and a past Erath County Commissioner. Shelton used to play slow pitch softball when he was younger. He said he used to play for several different teams including the Norton Stars, Southfork, and Postons to name a few.
Shelton was recently honored as the 2016 Erath County Volunteer Firefighter of the Year. This award winner is selected by those working in and with ECVFR, and is considered a huge honor bestowed upon him by his co-workers.
” I am very proud to receive this award because I am so proud of our Department,” he said.
Shelton has received other life-saving awards over his career, but he very humbly said it is all just part of the job.
He is also a Cancer Survivor. Happily announcing he is cancer-free after surgery, chemo and radiation treatments last year.
Tommy Shelton, Erath County is proud to have you working for us and keeping us safe. Thank you for your service!