DALLAS - It's hard to chose one Texan of the Year. So, let's nominate one name on behalf of thousands of men and women who served and sacrificed for the entire state.

Greg Simmons was an Eastland firefighter - a volunteer.

He died when the first big wild fire broke out west of Possum Kingdom Lake and smoke surrounded his vehicle. He braved the front lines of the worst wildfire in state history.

Fires spread through every corner of the state and right in the heart of Texas, in Bastrop County.

At every one of the fires, men and women worked long hours through sleepless nights, sweating through record heat, trying to save lives and property. They faced seven of the 10 biggest fires in state history and contained every one of them.

I chose Greg Simmons to represent the army of firefighters because of what the people of Eastland told me before they lined the streets in his honor: He was a hero. And he should be recognized as one, not because he died, but rather because he knew the risks, and did the work anyway.


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