Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A lesson in humility

I recently had the honor of presenting at the International Fire Service Training Association’s (IFSTA) Validation Conference in Oklahoma City. There, I had the pleasure of attending a ceremony where Dr. Robert England (Editor of the International Fire Service Journal of Leadership and Management (IFSJLM) presented the Dr. Granito Award of Excellence in Fire Leadership and Management. [For those who are not familiar with John Granito, his biography is at the end of this post.]

This year’s recipient was Dr. Denis Onieal, Superintendent of the National Fire Academy. Following the presentation of the award the recipient gives the keynote address to the conference attendees. Since Dr. Onieal’s accomplishments are extensive, surely he’d have no trouble filling his allotted time with a rousing speech about how he has achieved his many successes. For the young up-and-coming leaders in the room, there would be much to learn about his journey. But that would have to wait for another day.

Instead of talking about himself and this honorable award, Dr. Onieal turned the accolades to four people, all present in the room, that he classified as his heroes… people he has looked up to… people who had blazed new trails and achieved great successes in their own right. But this was Dr. Onieal’s time to shine… to bask in the moment of warm applause and smiling faces. Those in the room who were hoping to learn something about Denis Onieal from his keynote, surely did… not in the literal interpretation of his words, but in his choice to use his time to pay homage to others.

Here is a man who has been called upon numerous times to provide leadership and diplomacy during times of great crisis – on September 11, 2001... in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina… and in numerous other situations when our nation’s fire service needed his guidance. He has hosted diplomats and provided counsel to presidents. Yet, when given the opportunity to bask on the spotlight, Dr. Onieal took that very spotlight and turned on to four other people, lauding their successes… a powerful lesson on humility for everyone in the room. May we all strive to emulate Dr. Denis Onieal and remain humble in our successes.
Continue Reading A lesson in humility

Dr. John Granito biography

John is one of the premier fire and public safety consultants in the United States. Just a few of his many Fire, Rescue, and Emergency services research projects include: Oklahoma State University-Fire Protection Publications Line of Duty Death Reduction project (3 years); Centaur National Study (3 years); Research Triangle Institute/National Fire Protection Association/International City/County Management Association project (4 years); Fire Department Analysis Project (FireDAP) of the Urban Fire Forum (13 years); Combination Department Leadership project, University of Maryland, Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute (4 years); Wooster Polytechnic/International Association of Fire Fighters/International Association of Fire Chiefs/ National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Fire Ground Performance Study (current). He has participated in more than 400 fire department studies. John also has strong ties to academia. For 27 years in served in a number of academic positions, the last 16 of which were at the State University of New York at Binghamton. He is Professor Emeritus and Retired Vice President for Public Service and External Affairs at SUNY Binghamton, which is consistently ranked in the top public universities by U.S. News and World Report. John has published numerous articles, chapters, and technical papers, served as co-editor of the 2002 book published by the International City/County Management Association entitled, Managing Fire and Rescue Service, and is a Section Editor of the NFPA 2008 Fire Protection Handbook. Dr. Granito was the first recipient of the award that honors him and his service to the fire service and to academia.
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