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Father and son make memories at Southampton Fire Company


Father and son, Tom McCullough Sr., 67, and Tom “Tommy” McCullough Jr., 35, not only work at the family business together, Mount Penn Tool and Machine Co., but they also volunteer together at Southampton Fire Company.

As one of the perks of owning his own company, Tom Sr. said, “I was always available to answer calls during the day when it’s the hardest time to find firefighters.”

Additionally, Tom Sr. serves as one of Upper Southampton Township’s supervisors.

Back in 1973, Tom Sr. joined right before his 16th birthday, when Southampton Fire Company answered about 50 calls a year. Today, that number is closer to 450-500. The jump in numbers largely has to do with alarm systems as well as mutual aid calls.

“Most companies can only get one truck out during the day when the majority of volunteers are at work. If it’s a house fire or something substantial, you need several trucks, which is why mutual aid companies are almost always called,” explained Tom Sr.

He is currently an active member, retired from the firefighting side of things, where he previously served as lieutenant. On the business side, he served as recording secretary, president from 1990-1995, trustee for a few years and then treasurer for 10 years. Tom Sr. was an active firefighter for a few years before his retirement when his son became a riding member at 18.

“Tommy was interested since day one. He would always go with me to the firehouse,” said Tom Sr. “Once he was a firefighter, there were a lot of times when I was driving the truck and he was on board with the crew.”

Tom Jr. joined Southampton Fire Company as a junior firefighter at 14. He worked his way up to lieutenant, and stepped down for a year-and-a-half after his son was born.

“When you’re raising a family, you have to prioritize,” said Tom Jr. “There were plenty of people looking for the opportunity to become a Lieutenant at the time, so I knew Southampton was in capable hands.”

After his son grew up a little bit and Tom Jr. had more time, Southampton Fire Company welcomed him back as a lieutenant.

“It’s very rewarding being part of a family legacy and following in my dad’s footsteps,” said Tom Jr. “He’s one of those people who is a very natural leader and always has been able to work well with others. He’s the smartest person I know.”

Tom Sr. always enjoyed the togetherness of volunteering with his son. Some of his proudest moments were when Southampton Fire Company named Tom Jr. Firefighter of the Year as well as when he earned the Honor Medal for Lifesaving from the Boy Scouts of America.

“Myself and four other Scouts received the lifesaving award for saving someone from drowning in whitewater rapids,” said Tom Jr. “We paddled across the Lehigh River and positioned the raft to get in the rapids where the man was and pulled him out.”

No matter the emergency, Tom Jr. says one of the most valuable skills he’s learned as a firefighter is performing under high pressure situations.

“I don’t get stressed out anymore. Dealing with emergencies helps you put your problems into perspective,” he said.

“He’s always been very conscientious about what he does,” adds Tom Sr. “He knows how to get things done and make things happen. He’s also very safety cautious; his number one priority is making sure everyone goes home safe.”

And sometimes that includes the safety of animals too. One of Tom Jr.’s top five calls is what Southampton calls “The Great Puppy Rescue.” An alert came in that a van was involved in a crash on the turnpike, with about 80 puppies on board.

When Tom Jr. arrived on scene, puppies were running around everywhere. Some of the cages broke in the crash and puppies got loose. The firefighters also had to remove the puppies still in the cages from the van, so they could reach the driver. After the scene was under control, the chief said the firefighters could leave the scene and go to work if they needed to.

“No one left. Everyone stayed to play with the puppies until the SPCA arrived to pick them up,” said Tom Jr. “I will always remember that call.”

Southampton Fire Company prepares its volunteers for any type of call. No prior experience is required to join; training and gear are provided.

“Southampton is one of the best fire companies in the area,” said Tom Sr. “They are always at the front of training and equipment to get the job done efficiently and keep everyone safe. With good equipment, we can get the job done faster and get back to work.”

Once trained, Southampton provides volunteers with opportunities to drive trucks, respond to emergencies, learn high-angle rope rescues and vehicle rescues.

“Not only will you get to help people and give back to your community, but you’ll also get to do very unique things that not many people get the chance to do,” said Tom Jr.

In addition to the high-quality training, Tom Sr. and Tom Jr. have met some of their closest friends at the fire company.

“We joke around a lot, but when the alarm goes off, it’s all business,” said Tom Sr.

To learn more about the volunteer experience, fill out a no-obligation inquiry form at

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