A Barrington hero: From Marine to firefighter
Barrington Monday, 11/12/12 Barrington firefighter/paramedic, Chad Tinsley served in the Marines from 2000-2004, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 16, 2012 6:25AM
BARRINGTON — Barrington resident Chad Tinsley was to be one of many local veterans honored Monday morning in a Veterans Day ceremony on Main Street.
Tinsley, who served three tours as a Marine in the Middle East, now serves as a firefighter for the Barrington Fire Department.
“I joined the Marines and shortly after, Sept. 11 happened,” Tinsley said last week. “I never expected to be in war.”
Like many Americans, the terrorist attacks left a profound impression on Tinsley’s life. He was deployed to the Middle East just three weeks after the 2001 attacks.
“Once that was over, I came home and that was when they started talking about Iraq,” he said, explaining that a Marine’s tour is typically six months, which is shorter than an Army or Navy tour.
Monday’s ceremony was to include Village President Karen Darch thanking veterans for their service, and remembering those who have given their lives for the country.
“My message usually is expressing the community’s thanks for all the veterans who have served in all the conflicts,” Darch said last week.
Tinsley said he’s always looked up to veterans, particularly those who fought in earlier wars and those who were deployed for much longer than six months.
“They had it a lot harder than I did,” he said.
Tinsley said he is able to use many of the skills he learned in the Marines to help him in the work he does today as a firefighter.
“You go through the same type of emotions,” said Tinsley, explaining that fighting a fire can be similar to being in war zone because of the survival mode both situations require.
“Being in the Marines has helped me tremendously in the work I do now,” he said.
Tinsley said he is proud of his work as a Marine, firefighter and paramedic. He remains patriotic, and serves as part of the Honor Guard at the fire department.
“Since I’ve been involved in that, we’ve taken on patriotic duties in town,” Tinsley said.
Those duties, he explained, include lowering all of Barrington’s flags to half staff in the wake of any disaster or tragedy.
“That’s our responsibility as a fire department,” he said.