One Small Voice
by Laura McGaffey
Articles originally published in "The Voice in the Desert"
Sunsites-Pearce, Arizona

Volunteers Donate Time and Money
To Upgrade Fire Fighting Apparatus

October 2008

In our machine shop my husband Thom and several other Sunsites-Pearce Fire District volunteers have spent many unpaid hours maintaining and upgrading Fire District equipment. The group has donated $ 3,500.00 in labor and my husband has spent $ 1,100.00 in parts he has purchased for the District.

Thomas M. McGaffey: Electrical and Electronics Engineer, Computer Designer, Firmware Engineer, Journeyman Welder, Inventor, Rocket Scientist; Engineering V.P., CEO, High Tech Business Founder and Owner; Sheriff’s Deputy, Emergency Medical Technician, Firefighter, Fire District President and Chief. A Sunsites-Pearce resident for five years he has spent the last year focusing a good deal of his talents, time and resources on the Sunsites-Pearce Fire District.

I met my husband when he was twenty-nine and he was already a certified expert in various technical fields with years of hands-on experience. When he was in junior high school his family doctor loaned him a very expensive microscope to use at home and offered to fund Thom’s medical school studies if he chose to become a doctor.

His natural born leadership had long been acknowledged by the time we met. His mantra has always been, “A leader gives his people the credit when things go right and accepts full responsibility when something goes wrong.” In positions of leadership, Thom McGaffey never points the finger at anyone else for problems in his administrative area. He has in fact many times stood up for one of his people when he or she has made a costly mistake. People are unfailingly impressed by his integrity and backbone when he acknowledges his responsibility as a leader. Thom has heard, “Your people would walk through fire for you,” many times over the years, in many venues, from engineering to firefighting, whether his people were paid employees or unpaid volunteers. Fellow Sunsites-Pearce Firefighters have urged him to run for Chief due to his experience and proven leadership in fire science and emergency medicine (including training) and fire department administration. However, Thom has never shown any interest in pursuing the position of Fire Chief.

Joining Thom for many hours at a time in our machine shop, the following volunteers have all contributed their considerable talents to the community: Rebel James Jones, Richard McMullen, Ken Myers, Dominic Rydzak and Terry Tingle. They are all trained, certified, and experienced firefighters who have proven themselves and put their lives on the line dozens of times in the last year to protect and defend the property and lives of the citizens of the District and the surrounding communities. Every one of them is fully qualified in the operation of several vehicles. Every one of them is trained and experienced in the operation of every piece of equipment on Engine/Tender 4, the most recently purchased fire truck. They have utilized Engine/Tender 4 numerous times in the protection of homes and property during fires this summer. All these gentlemen deserve our gratitude and respect for standing tall in the face of all the lies written about them over the months in political diatribes geared to scare the public into reorganizing the District.