Fire Chief and Alumnus Robert Jackson Awarded VFW Gold Medal
Category: Success Stories
Posted on December 11, 2018
Robert Jackson is passionate about fire service and being a first responder. Twenty years ago, he was beginning his career as a firefighter; he has since served as fire chief for the City of Daleville, Alabama, and today works as a firefighter EMT and hazmat technician at Ft. Rucker Fire and Emergency Services. He also works with local emergency management as a disaster volunteer coordinator.
Because of his passion and strides in the industry, as well as his dedication to honoring veterans, Jackson was awarded the Emergency Services Gold Medal Award for Outstanding Firefighter of the Year through the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Department of Alabama.
Update: In 2019, Jackson also received the VFW National Firefighter Award.
“I received the award for my achievements and accomplishments in my career, education, volunteering and mentoring in my community,” said Jackson.
While certainly notable, this isn’t the first award Jackson has received. Throughout his fire career, he has been the recipient of two life-saving medals, two Distinguished Service medals and has been recognized by the secretary of the Army, post commanding general and garrison commander.
Jackson received a bachelor’s degree in fire science and a master’s degree in emergency services management from CSU. He says he pursued his degrees to expand his knowledge in the industry and to be eligible for advancement in his career.
“My degree allowed me the opportunity to apply what I learned at CSU and use it to improve a fire department. My master’s degree in emergency management gave me the knowledge to achieve a leadership position with my local emergency management agency office,” he said.
In this part-time position, Jackson is responsible for coordinating volunteer efforts in the event of disasters in his community. Everything Jackson does seems to be to give back to and improve his local community.
Jackson says much of his success wouldn’t have been possible without his positive experiences at CSU.
“What led me to CSU is that the programs were designed for first responders and their busy schedules. The faculty always encouraged and motivated me to improve my knowledge,” he said. “I have tried to pursue degrees at other colleges but none of them compare to CSU. The faculty and staff at CSU strive to help you achieve your goals. They encourage and motivate you to reach beyond what you know to grasp that greater knowledge of your profession.”
Jackson knows what it feels like to be passionate about and validated in your career, which is why he works arduous hours and still feels fulfilled enough to want to volunteer his time to his community. A big part of this journey and desire has been the encouragement he has received along the way.
“CSU encourages and motivates you to reach beyond what you know to grasp that greater knowledge of your profession.”
To learn more about CSU’s fire science programs, visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu/Fire.