It is with profound sadness that we pass on to you that Oklahoma City Assistant Fire Chief Carl Holmes (Ret), a recent recipient of the coveted CFSI/Motorola Mason Lankford Fire Service Leadership Award has passed away. Carl passed on Thanksgiving Day while with his family in Texas. More details will follow.
Carl’s impact in the fire service is beyond measurable and that’s understood by any who have attended his training, courses and lectures. I first started attending Carl’s programs in the late 70’s and man, what an impact. He was teaching what made sense for those of us who were newly promoted-not the standard “book” stuff but real world stuff that he and many others experienced. To this day I still recall so much of what he preached related to hiring, promotions, training, operations (in and out of quarters) and the day to day needs of the community-by their fire department. He made a huge difference. A speaker at FDIC, IAFC-FRI, Firehouse, Command School and his own multi-year series of fire officer training, it was impossible to not learn from Carl-and I will always owe him.
Carl was deeply involved in mentoring thousands of fire officers throughout the nation, as well as advocating for modern and inclusive human resource management practices in fire departments. In 1991, he established the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute (EDI) to develop the management skills and leadership potential of African American Firefighters. The concept of the program was born out of Chief Holmes’ personal experience and knowledge of what was needed to prepare African American Firefighters for leadership positions. LINK: http://edionline.net/
Carl began his career in the fire service in 1951 with the Oklahoma City Fire Department. He was one of the department’s 12 initial African American firefighters hired. The group overcame many obstacles because of their race in rising through the ranks of the department. In 1981, following a 30-year career with OKCFD, he retired – but not until he achieved the rank of Assistant Fire Chief.
EXCELLENT 4 Min. VIDEO ABOUT CARL AS A FIREFIGHTER & CHIEF HERE:
Living legend reflects on pioneering firefighting history
Always a sought-after speaker and change agent, Carl traveled across the country, delivering presentations at major fire service conferences and events and small town firehouse bay floors-helping us all understand tactics-and people. His message was always one of inclusiveness and effectiveness – and it is a positive message about creating opportunities for all firefighters to reach their full potential.
What a sad loss among so many in the past year. Rest in peace Carl-and thanks for you did for so many-and also for all the swing/jazz music tapes you gave me over the years. It all mattered.
Rest In Peace Carl-And Thanks For Making Such A Difference.