Captain Thomas "Russ" Barr (ret.)

The RCFR Honor Guard rendered honors to retired Harrisonburg Fire Department Captain Thomas "Russ" Barr on January 10, 2008. Mr. Barr began his career with the fire service in 1950 with the Harrisonburg Fire Department. During his career he served as Sergeant, Training Officer, and Captain. He retired in 1998 with 37 years of service; he was also a life member of Hose company No. 4, Fire Company No.1, and the State Fire Chief Association.

The RCFR Honor Guard would like to extend our sympathy to the Barr family during their recent loss. Mr. Barr recently had the honor of seeing his son Russell retire from the Rockingham County Department of Fire & Rescue on December 31, 2007. Russell had been the
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team leader of the RCFR Honor Guard for the last 6 years until his recent retirement; our personnel were honored to be a part of the services for his father as well as for his family.
HFD Battalion Chief Thomas Moffett wrote the following letter to the editor regarding retired Captain Thomas Barr:

A Dedicated Firefighter

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A hero of mine died today. He had an impact on me that made me a better person and a better public servant. Some may reflect and see his life differently than me, but I choose to remember the good.
He gave more than 30 years of his life to the City of Harrisonburg and its citizens as a career firefighter, and he gave even more of his time as a volunteer.

He started as a basic firefighter and retired as a captain. He worked holidays, weekends, and worked at a time when the shift came on duty at midnight and went home in the morning.
There were times that he wasn't the model employee, but he was there; standing his watch over this town.

A hero of mine died today. He taught firefighters all over the Commonwealth of Virginia how to be tough as nails and I always pictured him as the proverbial drill instructor screaming at guys for not doing it right.

He did a stint as the Training Officer for this city's Fire Department as well. He might have occasionally butchered a technical term, but what he had learned over the years, he shared with his coworkers.

A hero of mine died today. When it came time to be direct and stop the nonsense and tell it like it was, there was no one like him. I can't say that I'm always the best at being diplomatic, but I learned to tell it like it is, in part, because of this man.

There will be lots of folks that will remember Thomas Russell Barr differently than I do and that's okay. There will be lots of folks that won't remember what he did for the citizens of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County as a defender of our safety.

But, for me, the guy who got promoted to captain by his retirement, I'll always remember a hero of mine died today.