Officer Michael Baley of the Royse City Police Department has spent the better part of his adult life serving his community and country.
In addition to putting his life on the line as a police officer, Baley is also a volunteer firefighter of the city’s fire department. Before that, he was a veteran of the U.S. Army.
“My poor wife. She’s been right beside me since day one, April 28, 2001, the day that we got married,” Baley said. Baley said he was a member of the national guard when the towers of the World Trade Center came down. About nine months later, he was scheduled for his first deployment.
“She’s been trooping along beside me through all that craziness and all the deployments,” Baley said. “During that time, we had our first child.”
Baley said his wife, Dana, was like a single mother at the time of his deployment. She was responsible for the household in addition to raising their newborn baby.
“Dana had a great support system for her here, but it was just as demanding on her as it was for me being away,” Baley said.
He said he saw much of his son’s early upbringing through the screen of a computer. Though he cherishes those memories and longs for the moments that he missed, he does not regret the sacrifice that he made to serve the country.
“The sacrifices that were made were worth it; I would do it again tomorrow. You have to look at the bigger picture of what is more important in this world,” Baley said.
For Baley, it has always been about finding ways to serve his community and protecting the world that his children would grow up in.
That’s why Baley, after returning home from Iraq, decided to approach his wife about becoming a volunteer firefighter, in addition to continuing his job as a police officer.
“I was a police officer before my last deployment. It was at that time, when I got back from my last deployment to Iraq, when I asked her, and she blessed off on it of course, if I could become a volunteer fireman,” Baley said.
Baley said that his father, Jerrell Baley, the former mayor of Royse City, had instilled a spirit of service and humility in him that has guided his decisions over the years. Before his father served as the city’s mayor, he was also a volunteer firefighter for the city. His younger brother Patrick, a teacher in Wylie, Texas, is also a member of the armed forces.
“Because of the way we were raised, we looked for opportunties to serve others as much as possible, like through the church and through the community,” Bailey said. “So I’m instilling those core beliefs in my boys.”
Baley said that the spirit of service is something that he cherishes teaching to his two boys, William, 13, and Jackson, 7. He spends some of his time as a leader for Boy Scouts Troop 312 from Royse City, which his oldest son is a part of.
During a hike on the Guadalupe Mountains last year, Baley and some of the older boys from the troop were involved in an incident in which a woman had fallen on her way down from the mountain.
Using the skills that he had learned during military training, Baley treated the woman who had sprained her ankle. The members of his troop helped carry the woman down the steep mountain side.
“It was encouraging to see those young men carry her down the mountain and to watch their sacrifice, because they carried down another human down a pretty rigorous terrain,” Baley said.
Baley said he feels the call to service is something that has been passed down to him from even before his father’s time. His grandfather, Clifford “Pruney” Howell, was also a firefighter. Both his father and grandfather were also veterans.
He said being able to follow in his father’s footsteps and seeing his children grow in Royse City is what makes all his sacrifice worthwhile.
“As far as a good place to work? Oh yeah, I’m blessed,” Baley said.