Carlisle Fire Company’s Vice President Glenn Gillespie was awarded the 2014 Outstanding Leadership Award sponsored by Firehouse Expo and Fire News on Saturday, July 19th 2014. The award nationally recognizes one firefighter from across the nation each year that has served their community in an outstanding fashion. Glenn become the first Delawarean and the first volunteer firefighter to receive the national award.
Serving the Carlisle Fire Department for over 40 years, Gillespie remembers his first interaction with the organization when the firemen came to his second grade class at Lulu Ross Elementary School in Milford for Fire Prevention Week. As the crew shared their role in the community with the children while demonstrating the ladder truck, Glenn immediately knew he wanted to be a part of the Carlisle Fire Company one day. At the age of 16, his Uncle Ed Jester gave him an application and became his sponsor for the organization.
“Being a part of an organization whose job it was to protect and save lives was a great honor,” commented Gillespie. “Although I cannot put on the gear and ride the trucks like I used to I am still proud to serve the Carlisle Fire Company in the ways that I can.”
Gillespie joined the Carlisle Fire Company (CFC) in November of 1973 and has risen throughout various ranks and titles with the CFC ranging from Ambulance Lieutenant, Ambulance Captain, Secretary, Fire Line Captain, Assistant Fire Chief and Company Training Officer, Deputy Public Information Officer and Photographer. He now actively serves as the Vice President of the company.
In 1985 Gillespie received the Delaware State Fire Chief’s award for “Heroic Firefighter” as well as the same award given by the Carlisle Fire Company after he and his crew demonstrated bravery at a working duplex fire in town. As reports came in indicating that there were several victims still caught inside the structure as it was burning, Gillespie along with Cheif Jim Bailey, Les Armour, Rich Gileswski and Steve Ellingsworth searched the house and were able to secure one individual although there were several others that did not survive the blaze.
“I still have great admiration and great respect for those guys,” said Gillespie. “They are why I continue the tradition that was established by our forefathers by serving the Carlisle Fire Company and the Milford community.”
Outside of the Carlisle Fire Company, Glenn Gillespie has also held the positions of Field Instructor, Delaware State Fire School; Past President, Kent County Fire Chief’s Association (2007); Past President, Kent County Firefighters Association (2011); Past President Delaware State Chief’s Association (2013) and Kent County Director, Delaware Volunteer Firefighters Association (2016).
Public Information Officer Ryan Knowles was the individual that submitted Gillespie’s name for the 2014 Outstanding Leadership Award and states that Glenn’s ability to always give more to the community and his men is the reason he feels that Glenn deserved the recognition.
“Glenn Gillespie iis a leader of Carlisle and he is always taking on numerous tasksat one time,” said Knowles. “Glenn is a true asset to the Carlisle Fire Company and an inspiration for all firefighters to rise through the ranks of the Volunteer Fire Service.”
Joining the ranks of 10 other nationally know firefighters, Gillespie states that he is honored and humbled that a volunteer firefighter from a small town could receive this recognition. “It has been the most humbling feeling I have ever had to endure. For guys here in the fire company that came over to support me it was overwhelming,” stated Gillespie. “This is an award I will take with me to the final alarm.”