Dallas, TX Local 58 member Tracy Beard, a dedicated and respected fire fighter, proud husband and father, softball coach and fire station mentor, died Saturday, December 10, following a long battle with ALS.
Beard was a strong supporter of MDA and participated in Fill-the-Boot drives throughout his 25 years as a Dallas fighter. He became an even more outspoken advocate for MDA following his diagnosis in January 2014 with ALS, a degenerative muscular disease.
“Tracy Beard was a top notch fire fighter, family man and true pillar in his community,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “We are saddened by his passing and yet so proud of Tracy for leading such an honorable and impactful life.”
During the IAFF 52nd Convention in Cincinnati in 2014, Beard delivered an emotional speech to assembled delegates urging them to commit to join the IAFF in its decades-long program in support of MDA.
“For those of you that have collected throughout the years, I thank you,” he said. “For those of you that are planning on it or hadn’t really thought about it, I encourage you to follow through and do it. I have seen MDA in action and although I hope you never have to see it in action, from my point of view MDA is awesome.”
Beard continued working at Station 4 in Dallas for eight more months following his diagnosis until his body finally gave out and he realized it was no longer safe for him to work a shift.
“I remember the morning after his final shift when Tracy decided he’d had enough and couldn’t go on,” says Captain Ryan Truelove, who worked alongside Tracy. “It was heartbreaking for him because he loved being a fire fighter. He never wanted to quit but he was man enough to know that it was time. Tracy was simply the strongest man I ever met.”
Truelove, a member of Local 58, says Beard was a leader and mentor both in the fire department and in his community where he coached girls fast-pitch softball for years. “In the station, Beard was simply top-notch. He was always there to help out another fire fighter who would need a shift covered in an emergency. He was a mentor who always helped rookies become much better fire fighters,”says Truelove.
Beard’s visitation will be held Wednesday, December 13, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the New Hope Funeral Home, 500 East Hwy. 80, Sunnyvale, Texas. The funeral will be held at First Baptist Church at 1:00 p.m., Thursday, December 14, at 3018 N Belt Line Road, Sunnyvale.
Beard is survived by his wife, Sherry, whom he married in February 1989, the same month and year he joined the fire service, and his two daughters, Taylor and Blair.