Cory James Barr, 34, was a captain for his volunteer department. He was the first to join when the age was changed from 21 to 18, so is known for being the youngest to join the department, giving him 16 years of service. He had an extreme passion for the fire department and knew the history of the department, including finding and having Sun Prairie’s first fire truck restored. He was knowledgeable and loved collecting antique fire memorabilia. He was a great leader, and everyone looked up to him.
Cory was an entrepreneur. He owned and operated a bar in town and sold real estate. Both allowed him to shine with his outgoing and friendly personality. He would meet and talk to people like he had known them for years. It also demonstrated he was a very hard worker. When asked how he could do all he did, he said, “It’s easy when you are living your dream.” It gives those that loved him peace knowing he was living the life he dreamed of.
Cory’s main passion was family. He was a devoted and loving husband, father, son, brother, and uncle. He did everything for others and never for himself. He did a lot for his parents, would spend as much time as possible with his niece and nephews, and loved getting together with brothers and sisters (including in-laws) to celebrate life. He was most proud of his girls—his wife and two beautiful daughters, Aubrey and Hailey. He always made time for family and couldn’t have been prouder to be a twin father.
Even in his final moments, he was doing what he loved. He threw on his fire gear, headed to the scene of a gas leak, and was working to save members of the community he grew up in and loved so much. While doing so, there was an explosion that took out some of the downtown area, and he lost his life.
Through this tragic event, he became a hero to this community. The coming together of Sun Prairie has been awe-inspiring, not just for his family, but for others who lost a lot that day. From fundraisers and donations, to meals, hugs and prayers, the outpouring of support was unbelievable. The city and government in the area is doing a lot to honor him as well. There is a new sense of pride in this community, and that is the legacy he leaves behind. While he’ll be missed deeply by friends and family, they will forever be proud of the man he was and the impact he had on people’s lives.