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Wife hailed as hero

F.T. Norton

Even before Anna Sigmon, 93, saved her husband and caretaker from a fire that destroyed their home last week, her husband, Gordon, knew she was a gem.

“I love this woman,” Gordon Sigmon, 93, said as he wrapped his arm tightly around the shoulders of his bride of 70 years. “She’s the best woman in the world, as far as I’m concerned. “

On Jan. 20, as the Sigmons prepared for bed, Anna Sigmon said she heard a thumping noise coming from the bedroom of caretaker Debra Simms.

When she opened Simms’ door, a blast of hot air smacked her in the face, scorching her cheeks and singing her hair.

Simms, disoriented, sat on the bed as the chair beside it blazed, Sigmon said.

She hurried Simms out of the room then grabbed her husband, and the three ran outside.

“I was fighting them both to get them out,” Sigmon said.

Within minutes, firefighters arrived, but not in time to save the single-wide mobile home built in 1974.

The home has been condemned by the city.

“We lived their for 13 years,” Anna Sigmon said. “It meant a lot to us. There are a lot of memories there.”

She said about 85 percent of their things survived, but the bedroom furniture is all gone.

“We came out pretty well,” she said.

After sharing a room overnight at the hospital, the Sigmons have taken up temporary residence with their daughter, Peggy Geerhart.

For 13 years, the couple lived in a shady lot in the Cottonwood Mobile Home Park. They’d like to return there, but Geerhart said she isn’t sure what insurance would cover.

Although Gordon Sigmon has dementia, Geerhart said, with a caretaker they should be able to return to their own home, if finances allow it.

The dementia has robbed Sigmon of his short-term memory, but he remembers everything from years ago.

“They act like people who’ve been married five years, instead of 70,” said their neighbor and friend who asked to be identified only as Martha.

Martha said that since the fire, people have made small gestures to try to lighten the financial load of the couple.

“We ran out to J.C. Penney’s to get her hair done, and they told her no charge,” Martha said.

“And Mike’s Pharmacy waived their co-pay on their medications.”

Martha said the co-pay was about $300.

When asked why he’d done that, owner Mike Hautekeet said he wouldn’t have done otherwise.

“I think they went through enough turmoil after losing their house, and I’ve known Gordon and Anna for almost 11 years. After what they went through, I that it was the least I could do,” he said.

Married in 1932, the Sigmons met near Jackpot, Nev., where Anna was a school teacher and Gordon worked on a ranch. He soon took a job with the railroad.

Because of that, he was never drafted into the Army. The couple has never been separated.

The Sigmons raised two children — Peggy and Norman — once living in the most desolate outpost in Nevada. Eventually, they headed back to Elko, where she went back to teaching and he took a job with the school district. Upon their retirement, they family moved to Carson City.

Anna Sigmon’s right eye is still puffy from her burn, and there is a burn mark on her right wrist. But she doesn’t seem to notice.

She smiles as her husband showers her with compliments.

“He’s a good man,” she said, patting his leg. “He sure is.”

YOU CAN HELP:

Anna and Gordon Sigmon

c/o Peggy and Bob Geerhart

P.O. Box 1904

Carson City, Nevada 89702

or call 882-3695

Be sure to include the Geerharts’ name so the post office will deliver donations.