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Retiring Billings firefighter worked final shift alongside son

Posted at 3:52 PM, Jul 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-01 18:06:55-04

BILLINGS – The Billings Fire Department recently celebrated the career of Cpt. Terry O’Toole, who worked his final shift with the department on Tuesday.

O’Toole started with the department on Sept. 25, 1995.

“Personally, I don’t know that you could find a better job,” said O’Toole. “It fits me well. I’m more of a hands-on type of guy. I don’t like sitting in front of the desk and computer-type stuff.”

After 24 years, O’Toole said it’s time to call it a career.

“It’s going to be nice to look forward to some weekends off, for starters, and maybe a decent night’s sleep for a while,” said O’Toole.

A lot of moments stand out for O’Toole in his decades of service, but possibly the most significant was watching his son follow in his footsteps.

“Time that stands out most is probably when Andrew got hired,” said O’Toole. “That was pretty cool.”

Andrew O’Toole was born just 10 days before his dad started his career with the Billings Fire Department.

“To me its a lifetime,” said Andrew O’Toole. “You spend a lifetime, in my terms, serving other people. So I’ve got to grow up and see that and learn from it and appreciate what it takes and really what he’s done and learn what it takes to do so myself.”

On what would be O’Toole’s last shift with the department, the father and son were granted special permission to work together.

While the shift was relatively quiet, the pair knew how special it was to work the day together.

“We both love it,” said Andrew O’Toole. “We both loved our time here. He’s probably not quite ready to leave, I don’t think I will be when it’s my time to leave. Most guys usually aren’t.”

O’Toole may be stepping away, but what he has left behind is significant – a legacy of commitment and service that his son will proudly carry on.

Reporting by Brandon Sullivan for MTN News