At Station 15 on Prospect Street, just east of Fountain Square in
Indianapolis is a man who, for almost 30 years, has dedicated his
life to serving his community and country.
Long before Tom
Farrington volunteered at the Indianapolis Fire Department, he had
already spent nearly 10 years in the Indiana National Guard.
June 28, 2017 - Tom Farrington is a 19 year veteran of the
Indianapolis Fire Department (left) and a 29 year veteran of the
Indiana Army National Guard (right). Indiana National Guard photos
and combined image by U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Runser
“When I joined the Indiana National Guard in 1988, my
initial goal was to pursue a college education,” said
Farrington. “I also wanted to be a helicopter pilot, so I
figured the best way would be to start out as a turbine
After discovering his
less-than-perfect vision would prevent him from becoming a
pilot, he shifted his interest in another direction.
“I spent six years as a helicopter
mechanic then went to Delta Company (Long Range
Surveillance), 1-151 Infantry Regiment, where I spent the
next 20 years,” said Farrington.
Having served in the
long range surveillance, an airborne unit since 1994,
Farrington sought to explore a career with the Indianapolis
He wanted to take the skills he
learned through the guard and use them to serve his
community as well. Recognizing that the two careers are very
similar, it was a natural transition from soldier to another
form of service – firefighting.
Years of consistent
physical training already prepared Farrington for this
Standing at nearly 5-foot-10-inches tall and
roughly 180 pounds, his brawny stature is impressive for
someone half his age. In a loose-fitting, fire-retardant
jacket he would appear to most as average, however, beneath
the uniform is a 48-year-old who still maxes the Army
Physical Fitness Test.
“I’ve know Tom for over 15
years. He can do it all. He's able to fix a vehicle, build a
structure, lead an ambush ... obviously put out fires. He’s
a jack of all trades,” said Sgt. 1st Class Josh Harveth, who
Farrington served with in Company D, 151st Infantry
Farrington, along with many other service
members, current and prior service, choose to serve within
their city, state or country.
“Although Tom is one
of many firefighters in Indianapolis who also serve their
country in the National Guard and Reserve, he is a shining
example of the commitment and integrity shown by those drawn
to a life dedicated to service,” said Ernest Malone,
Indianapolis Fire Department Chief.
Some kids spend
their childhood dreaming of serving on the fire department,
but this hasn’t always been a goal of Farrington’s. He
pointed to his own life as an example of how a person can
evolve over time.
“You know, I never really grew up
thinking I wanted to be a firefighter,” Farrington said with
a grin. “It really happened by coincidence.”
worked a lot of construction before becoming a firefighter.
I was everything from a rough carpenter to construction
superintendent,” said Farrington.
He liked the idea
of working full-time for the military though and started to
work on temporary orders.
“At one point, a bunch of
guys I was working with said they were going to apply for
the fire department,” said Farrington.
At that time,
he knew very little about the fire department and decided
“A couple of them got hired, and I
started to realize what a great opportunity it was and how
synonymous it is with serving in the military,” he added.
Service is in Farrington’s DNA. His father, a decorated
Army Special Forces officer who served in Korea and Vietnam,
along with several clandestine missions, found his calling
by accident as well.
“My dad, Jim, was drafted for
the Korean War,” said Farrington. “He ended up making a
career out of it though. One thing led to another and he
went to Officer Candidate School, got his commission, went
to airborne and ranger school, then eventually ended up in
Army Special Forces early in it’s inception.”
father has always been a role model in his life.
used to think my dad walked on water,” Farrington joked.
“Honestly, I thought that until I was almost 30.”
Passing down the torch to Sam, his son and a recent graduate
of the U.S. Army airborne school, marks three generations of
paratroopers in the family.
“One of the proudest
moments of my career was going down to Fort Benning and
pinning my original wings on Sam then my dad pinning his
original sterling silver wings on him,” said Farrington
“Just to be there with my son, it was a great day.”
Service is more than just an obligation for the Farrington
family; it is a lasting commitment to their community and
“Not only does he serve his city, he has
instilled the call to duty in his children, most notably
Sam. The example shown by him and his wife Debbie, also an
IFD firefighter, will only help to reinforce the holistic
importance of family and service,” said Malone.
Farrington’s experience over the years, and support from his
family, have allowed him to dedicate his life to service.
Every person has their reason they choose to serve,
and for Farrington, it’s about the community, camaraderie
“Being able to serve in both capacities
is very important to me,” said Tom.
significant thing I have learned from both the military and
fire department is working with people from all walks of
life. It really has helped as a firefighter here in
Indianapolis as well as a soldier at my unit.”
By U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Runser, Indiana National Guard
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