FERRIER FILES: Tennessee couple married 53 years shares passion for fire service
CUNNINGHAM, Tenn. —
If you want to know why Tennessee is still the Volunteer state, go to the tiny town of Cunningham.
It's just 2,400 people in a remote outpost of Montgomery County. There you will find June and Louie Leftwich and the very heart of service.
The couple has been married 53 years and have served as volunteer firefighters for more than half their marriage.
“It’s been absolutely wonderful the time has gone by so quickly.” June Leftwich said.
Louie Leftwich sees it a little more pragmatically.
“You don't have no idea," Louie said. "You burned up your gas, wear out your tires, and you got to go all hours. Snow, ice; you still got to go."
Louie Leftwich has built a piece of equipment for every fire station in Montgomery County. He is a bonafide master welder, and his skill has literally saved lives.
June is no slouch herself. She is still considered one of the finest pumper drivers in the county.
“I call this my baby,” she said.
June still runs on everything with only one exception. She no longer enters burning homes.
Louie listens to the police scanner 18 hours a day.
The Leftwichs have been married forever. They work together and have just one real hobby -- fire service.
They are together all the time, and it isn't always easy.
June was fire chief for many years. She was Louie's boss.
“It didn’t bother me none,” Louie said.
“Oh he was insubordinate,” June said.
They sometimes bicker but always put it behind them.
“We love it and we love each other,” June said. "It has been just wonderful.”