Going Beyond: Don and Nancy Primus retire from Moore County Fire Department

Metro EMA Director Jason Deal presented the Primuses with a special Heroes Among Us challenge coin on Saturday in Lynchburg. It was one of many special recognitions and awards the local couple received in appreciation of their 47 years of service with the Moore County Fire Department. (A Lynchburg Times Photo)

It’s a rainy Saturday afternoon and nearly 50 people are gathered at Fire Station No. 1 to honor two people who’ve been the backbone of the Moore County Fire Department for the past 47 years. Don and Nancy Primus retired from active duty on Sunday, October 31 after 47 years of service in Moore County.

With a table filled full of photos and news clipping from decades of public rescues and fire fighting sitting to her left, Metro Mayor Bonnie Lewis spoke to a room full of citizens and public safety officials singing the couple’s praises for not only their work with the Moore County Fire Department but also their countless volunteer hours. During the brief presentation, the Mayor hailed the local couple as dedicated public servants who show up.

“Every single thing that happens in this county that requires a volunteer, you can count on Don and Nancy to be there,” Mayor Lewis stated. “Just like this fire department, they run into any given situation not away from it.”

The Mayor presented the couple with an official certificate of retirement.

Following the Mayor’s remarks, Metro EMA Director Jason Deal stepped up to present the couple with a Heroic Measures and Going Beyond All Normal Duties Challenge Coin. It’s the fifth and sixth coins ever given in the two years of the challenge coin program here in Moore County.

“We’re presenting these coins to you for 47 years of making a difference in a lot of people’s lives,” Director Deal stated.

Later in the presentation, Director Deal also stated that the Primuses call numbers 4101 and 4102 will be retired as of their official retirement date, which was October 31. Call number 4101 was the first ever assigned in the county and followed one of two walkie talkie assigned to public safety officials prior to the 9-1-1 system.

“Since no one can fill their shoes, no one will ever fill those numbers,” Director Deal said.

Next Metro Fire Department Engineer John LaCook stood up to speak about the couple. He stated that when the Primuses first announced their intention to retire during a recent training meeting that he left wondering who would fill their collective shoes. He mentioned the endless hours the couple have donated to the community without ever seeking recognition.

“These shoes can not be filled,” he told the crowd. “They also don’t want recognition for anything they do, which says a lot. From fundraising to showing up on scene at a motor vehicle accident scene, they are there. If it happened in the county in the past 47 years, they were there whether you knew it or not.”

He presented the couple with two commemorative barrel heads recognizing the Primuses service dates of 1974 to 2021.

Then an emotional Fire Chief Neal stood and listed Don’s many roles and accomplishments during his 47 years in the Moore County Fire Department. He served as Lynchburg City Fire Department Chief, as well as in the Moore County Fire Department, and the Metro Fire Department. He’s also a founding member of the Jack Daniel’s Fire Brigade. He’s served many years as a Moore County Sheriff’s Department Reserve Deputy. Nancy’s endless contributions to the fire department were eventually listed as Special Operations and included department fundraisers, fire safety education, local traffic control, serving on the 9-1-1 Board, and disaster response in Moore County.

“There are many behind the scenes things that are invisible to most citizens that both Don and Nancy assisted with over the years including the early call center before the Metro 9-1-1 System,” Chief Neal stated. “Thank you for everything you’ve done for this community.” •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}