Longtime Dallas firefighter loses battle to ALS

The Dallas Fire Department is mourning the loss of one of its best after a three-year battle with ALS.

Tracy Beard was a 26-year veteran with the department. Station Four was the last place he worked but spent most of his career in South Dallas. And most of his free time was spent on the softball field, helping girls get to college.

Lovingly nicknamed Tugboat, Tracy started developing signs of ALS, a neurodegenerative disorder leading to paralysis, three years ago. FOX 4 was there in 2013 and happened to capture what was likely one of the last firefights of his career.

“He said, ‘If anybody was to get ALS, it's good that it was me,’” said his brother, Clint. “And he said that because of the network that he had through the fire department, the softball organization, that community, he knew that they would support him and see him through.”

Since the diagnosis, the Beard family saw an overwhelming outpouring of support.

“We've been going through this journey for three years, and they've been here every step of the way,” explained his wife, Sherrie.

But Beard was more than a mentor at the station. He was an involved dad who coached the Texas Glory, a girl’s select softball team

“He wasn't just a coach. He was also a fatherly figure,” said his daughter, Blaire. “He helped get college scholarships for so many girls.”

Tracy’s far-reaching influence was clearly evident in special holiday messages from coaches and players at UT, A&M and others.

Tracy was known for a simple saying: “Leave it better than you found it.” And he did just that.

The visitation will be on Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the New Hope Funeral Home in Sunnyvale. The funeral will be on Thursday at First Baptist Church also in Sunnyvale.

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