John and Nicole Simon with their son JJ, 2, at the Garden City Fire Company station in Wallingford. John is the captain and Nicole is part of the crew for life. “My son is obsessed with firefighting and wants to be a firefighter just like his mom and dad,” says Nicole. (love photo)
NETHERLANDS SUPPLY – Nicole Simmons was destined to become a volunteer firefighter.
Growing up in the Garden City section of Wallingford, she spent her childhood in and around the Garden City Fire Company, the same fire company where her grandfather Jean Boyle was president of the Women’s Auxiliary and her grandfather Jack Boyle was her father. Ward Boyle and Uncle Jay Boyle also volunteered and were life members.
“It’s in my blood and it’s a culture for me at this point,” Simmons said. “I’ve been there my whole life so it comes naturally to me.
Simmons has been volunteering at GCFC for 12 years, and is now carrying on the family tradition with her fire captain husband, John, whom she met through friends while volunteering at the Upper Chichester Fire Company.
He graduated from Chichester High School, class of 2008.
When John and Nicole moved to Wallingford, John also became a member of Garden City, eventually becoming captain. Two years ago, Simmons and her husband added a new member to the family: John Jr., or “JJ,” as they affectionately nicknamed their 2-year-old daughter.
“My son is obsessed with firefighting and wants to be a firefighter just like his mom and dad,” Simmons said. “The firehouse was the first place he went after he was born and all the boys are like uncles who love to spoil him. I love that he grew up around the firehouse and the people I did.”
Simon wears many hats as a volunteer at Garden City.
She is a secretary at the fire company and handles administrative duties such as planning, managing and staffing community events, fundraising, financial management support and general administrative duties. She is also an active, certified firefighter.
Nicole Simon still responds to some fire calls, but not as often since having her son, mainly because her husband has to respond to every emergency call because of his role as a captain.
“Since becoming a mom, my role has evolved a lot and I’ve taken a bit of a backseat,” Simmons said. “Both of us, my husband and I, cannot leave our son. And I’m more careful. I think twice before deciding whether or not to respond to an emergency call knowing that I have a little person at home that I need to take care of.
The last time Simmons was seriously involved, an emergency fire call was the day she found out she was pregnant with her child.
“I wasn’t feeling well that whole day, and when I got home I decided to take a pregnancy test, and I was pregnant,” Simmons said.
Nicole Simon not only has to be a mother and firehouse secretary, but she also has to be involved in running a business.
The Simmonses created Simmons Removal, a junk and junk removal company serving the Delaware County region. They offer services such as shed removal, property cleanup, yard debris, light excavation, snow and ice removal, and more.
“I do it all and my husband does all the hard work and manly work,” Simmons said.
Ward Boyle also owns a waste disposal business, Boyle Removal in Wallingford. Nicole Simon and her father were born and raised in Wallingford.
A 2006 graduate of Strath Haven High School, Nicole moved just four houses from where she grew up. Both father and daughter serve as aldermen and committeemen in the 5th Ward of the city of Nether Providence.
“I have very deep roots here,” says Nicole proudly.
The Simon family makes sure to make it a priority to spend as much time as possible with each other and their son JJ when they’re not on fire. Their busy schedules make it difficult to spend time together, but they make sure to fit in the occasional trip to their beach house on a warm weekend.
“Motherhood is amazing,” Nicole said. It is the most prestigious title I have ever had. My son JJ is such a ‘boy’ and so full of energy. It keeps me on my toes. He is amazing and the love of my life. He’s our only child and the only grandchild in our family, so he’s so loved and spoiled!”
Being a mother has changed Nicole’s perspective on many things, but she always strives to serve her community in any way she can.
“I grew up in a firehouse and being a firefighter for so long, I can’t imagine my life without it,” Simmons said. “I don’t really know how I’m going to juggle everything — being a mom, working and volunteering at the firehouse — but I’m very committed to helping my community.”
Although she’s really looking forward to Mother’s Day, Nicole says the day will be bittersweet this year. She was raised by her father and grandfather, but this year she won’t have her grandfather to celebrate in person and share a special day with.
“Sadly, my grandmother passed away a year ago, so I’m going to miss her this Mother’s Day,” she said. “I spend Mother’s Day at the Jersey Shore, where we have a summer place. We go to brunch. I hope to sleep during nap time and enjoy being able to relax with my husband taking care of our son for the day!”
Nicole Simmons, a firefighter at the Garden City Fire Company in Wallingford, proudly holds her firefighter coat. (love photo)