Can't keep him down

Staff Writer

A tireless worker for Howard County residents is determined to remain on the job despite having his right foot amputated Aug. 30.
"I had to have my right lower leg cut off," said Howard County Volunteer Fire Department Chief Tommy Sullivan. In 2004, building on the station for the new fire truck, a firefighter dropped me 17
feet to the ground and broke my fibula and tibia in seven places. Ever since then, I've been fighting infections in that leg. Last Wednesday it finally got the best of me, so they took of the right lower leg."
Despite the setback, Sullivan said he plans to keep on doing his job.
"I'm just going to recuperate, I'm not going to rest," he responded, when asked if rest and recuperation were his plans for the foreseeable future. "It's business as usual in my head. Fire alarm goes off, I'm going. I can run command from sitting in my Suburban. If it's a small fire, I'll probably stay away, but if it's a big one, I'll be there and I'll be doing my job."
Physical therapy and, potentially, a prosthetic limb are still future goals for Sullivan, he said.
"(Therapy) will be part of it, probably in six to eight weeks," he said. "(A prosthetic) is in the future. They said it will be 6-8 weeks, to six months to a year. Since my skin was already burnt, we're just going to have to see how that flap works over, and how strong we can make it for the timing of a prosthetic."
Although future plans are still hazy, Sullivan said doctors are confident the amputation caught all of the infection.
"Yes sir," he said. "We got all the infected part cut off, and working on new."
Sullivan said he has many role models to draw inspiration from in this trying time.
"Our military men and women are doing it all the time. They're my inspiration," he said. "A dispatcher in the dispatch center, she has a prosthetic, and she goes. So I've got a lot of heroes to look up to and to follow."
Several previous surgeries in addition to the recent amputation have left Sullivan with a hefty medical bill, he said.
"Loretta Seghers from the Bad Boy Blast (annual sporting clay skeet tournament), she set me up a 'GoFundMe' page for medical bills," said the chief. "The surgery in May was $85,000, the one before it was $65,000. No telling what this one was. These things are 10s and 20s thousands of dollars."
Sullivan said any support would be greatly appreciated.
Chief Sullivan's GoFundMe page can be located at