Submitted by his parents
Gary Lee ‘Deuce’ Staley was born June 16‚ 1969‚ in Atlanta‚ Georgia. His family moved to Texas when he was 10 years old. Gary found a love for soccer and broke several bones in giving his whole self to the sport. He graduated from high school and began work in the oil industry. Gary married Stephanie Guillot in 1993 and Courtney was born a year later. She was certainly the apple of his eye. Although their marriage ended in divorce‚ they remained friends and shared a love for their daughter.
Gary decided one day that he was going to be a firefighter and it became his greatest passion. He was Rookie of the Year his first year and became a member of the 250 club by responding to 306 fire calls. Even though he was employed as an accountant for Anadarko Petroleum Company‚ his dedication was to firefighting. Evenings and on his days off he was a regular at the fire station.
On January 19‚ 2003‚ the fire call came in for an antique car showroom and he bolted out the door. He always tried to be one of the first on the truck. Four young men were sent into the flaming building‚ but only three came out. One of the fireman’s gloves caught on fire and he had to get out quickly. The building was totally full of smoke and flames with no vision possible. While crawling out of the building‚ one of the fireman ran into a building support pole dislodging his helmet and blocking his air supply. He was in serious trouble. Gary was close to him and helped him get the helmet secured and pointed him toward the door. While Gary was assisting the second fireman‚ the third one followed the hose line to safety. He told all outside that everyone must be out because no one was on the hose line. What he didn’t know was that Gary had not seen him come out and thought he was still in the building. Gary had returned to the hose line to look for him. At that moment a race car in the showroom filled with nitrous oxide exploded – taking Gary’s life.
In memory of Gary‚ a scholarship fund to train firefighters was established in 2003. Currently‚ there are five firefighters enrolled in the fire academy in Gary Staley scholarships.
Gary died serving the community that he loved as a volunteer firefighters and will always be remembered for this heroism and sacrifice.