#FireHeroTuesday kicked off the holiday season of givingtogether we can make sure our Fire Hero Families know that we remember.
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Roll of Honor

Age: 32
Year of Death: 2006

John D. Horton

Submitted by his Wife

John Destry Horton
Grady County Fire Service/Acme Fire Department – Oklahoma
Classification: Volunteer
Rank: Firefighter
Date of Death: March 24‚ 2006
Age: 32

John Destry Horton was born on May 26‚ 1973. He lived in Rush Springs‚ Oklahoma‚ and married his childhood sweetheart‚ Brandy Pittman‚ in 1998. Making their home in Rush Springs‚ they started a family‚ having two daughters‚ Kiley and McKenzie.

Destry worked for the Rush Springs Volunteer Fire Department for several years before moving to the Chickasha Fire Department on July 9‚ 1999. He was a paramedic‚ a Hazmat Technician‚ a PALS instructor‚ and had just been promoted to driver. He worked at Lindsey EMS and was the EMS director at Rush Springs for two years.

Destry was the worship leader at Grand Assembly of God and a youth sponsor; he loved music‚ singing‚ playing his guitar‚ and writing his own songs. On his days off‚ he refereed every possible sport there was and could often be found on the golf course with his best friend. A person could also find him hiding in a tree‚ scoping out that ‘big buck’ or hunting for quail with his bird dog‚ Boomer.

Destry gave of himself whenever the call came‚ and that day was March 1‚ 2006. He gave up a day of golfing to help the volunteer firemen fight wildfires in southern Oklahoma. In the midst of chaos‚ Destry did not think twice before jumping out of the fire truck to help a fellow fireman. He stepped into an inferno and suffered severe burns to a majority of his body. He fought for 24 days with everything he had in him and went home to be with Jesus on March 24‚ 2006.

These are bare details everyone knows. But‚ as in every life‚ there are added layers to his story:

His fire department friends called him ‘Golden Phone’ because of the volume of calls he would receive while on duty. One friend said that they could always play a good joke on Destry and he was always ready for a good game of ping-pong. How those two characteristics coincide‚ only his buddies might ever know‚ but that is their piece of Destry.

These are things not everyone discovers until tragedy strikes. And they are only bits and pieces. A few words on a page cannot sum up a life‚ no matter how we might try.

There are a million things his family and friends will treasure in their hearts: jokes‚ his smile‚ a look‚ some wisdom shared‚ or his contagious laugh. There are shared stories‚ respect‚ and a fond remembrance for a man who gave his life for another.

Destry still looks out of pictures with kind eyes‚ eyes of a man in love with his God‚ his family‚ his work‚ and his life. He looks out as a man who fought as he did to hang on to that life-a man who wouldn’t give up.

For Destry‚ death was not merely the end. It WAS the beginning.

Memorial Posts


Memorial Wall

  • (will not be published)

  1. Destry was one of a kind. A true hero in every sense of the word. His fire dept family misses him greatly.

    – Montez Wilkerson
  2. Yes Destry is missed. I can’t believe it will soon be 11 years. The month of March was a sad time and a happy time for our family. You see 11 years on March 9, 2006 our family welcomed a healthy baby boy named River Henry. And who would have thought that 15 days later we would be Celebrating Destry’s Homecoming to heaven. Life is but a vapor, life is full of happy times and sad times which make the memories of those we love. Each day is precious and should be lived as if it were our last. Destry lived life to the fullest and left us all memories. A fighter of life, a fighter for God, and a fighter of fires! Rest In Peace!

    – Tammy Pittman
  3. Destry we miss you as if it were yesterday. We cry each time we speak your name BUT we know we WILL see u again in Heaven. Oh what a day that will be!! Love you to Heaven and back.

    – Ann Pittman
  4. Destry was an amazing young man with a great love for God & his family! He & his wife were our Youth Pastors while we pastored in Rush Springs. He had an energy about him & a personality that wouldn’t stop! Everyone loved him becausw of it. He was very talented as well & could sing & play a guitar. He was selfless to the point that he lost his life. Such a great loss, but a greater legacy. He is still missed so much by many. ❤

    – Dana Smith
  5. I love you uncle Destry and not a day goes by that I don’t miss you and tell chase stories about you. He loves you and doesn’t have to meet you to know how Amazing you are. Every time I sit with joker and pet his coat and walk him around I think of you and picture you on him. You’re my hero in so many ways.

    – Shelby Horton
  6. Destry was such a loving, joy filled young man. I loved the worship he led us in at Grand Assembly. It radiated from his spirit. The world is a better place because of him. It’s hard to believe that almost 11 years have passed.

    – Glenda Crump
  7. Destry was a great man and I knew him from being in the medical field. I was also married to his daddy, and I seen him cry many of days and night cause he missed his son. He always told me Destry said dad I can’t wait to go to heaven and meet my Savior. Johnny never dreamed that day would come to soon, that he got the call of the tragedy of his son being in a fire accident. He rushed to be by his side. He talked so many times of spending day after day at the hospital, with Destry on one floor and Destry’s grandmother on another floor. Johnny was proud of the man his son had became but the day came he had to let him go home to be with the Lord. Johnny spent almost every day going to the backside as he called it. Cause that was the last place he seen and spent time with Destry and his dog. He always told me he could look out and see Destry and his dog walking over the pasture toward him. Destry gave his life for another’s life, leaving behind a wife and two daughter’s that he dearly loved. So many people in Rush Springs still talk of the giving person he was. Some day they will see that heroic firefighter again. We know McKenzie and your daddy have already gone to meet you again in heaven. I know your at peace in heaven and your battles are done. Your dad always said you was just a simple working man that would help anyone, and wouldn’t try to be a hero. But you was a hero and didn’t even know it. RIP Destry.

    – Donna Horton
  8. I was lucky enough to work with Destry through the emergency room at Grady Memorial. It was always a joy to see his smiling face when he came into the ER. He was thoughtful and caring no matter what the patient was going through. He treated staff with respect and helped in any way he could. It was easy to see he was a Christian in the way he conducted himself at all times. It was a great loss when he left us to go to his heavenly home. It will be a great day when were met again.

    – Charlotta Atwell
  9. I miss my son Destry. It has been 14 years, and as most mothers would say after such a loss, I miss him every day and never forget his smile, hugs, sense of humor, an infectious laugh…and so very much more. His faith was first, his family second. He loved everyone, helped everyone and never missed an opportunity to show the love of Jesus. His youngest daughter McKenzie is in Heaven with him and I’m certain they are singing God’s praises. Destry was Praise leader in his church on the Sundays he was not at the firehouse. I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior, so I know I will see my son and granddaughter soon. God bless all firefighters and keep them safe.

    – Jeri Thomas
  10. Destry and I had great memories as kids. He was always wanting to ring and run neighbors, climb trees or jump off of roofs. I’m extremely proud to see buildings and highways named after him. Rest in Peace Des.

    – Jas
  11. Destry, I spoke your name and told your story, today to a friend, as we drove in from Texas. Still tear up, telling it.

    – Carla Gamblin