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Longtime firefighter is city employee of the year

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By Lisa King

Sgt. Carlton Holbert, a firefighter of 7 years at the Shelbyville Fire Department, constantly goes above and beyond the call of duty – that’s why he was named firefighter of the year for 2013.

“Carlton is a wonderful employee and supervisor,” said Shelbyville Assistant Fire Chief Chris Spaulding. “Carlton has the respect of his subordinates as well as his supervisors. He is a real team player. He constantly volunteers for extra training opportunities as well as tasks when we need him.”

Holbert has accomplished a great deal during his career as a firefighter since he was hired in 2007, Spaulding said.

“He was promoted to sergeant; he took the advanced extrication course, many supervisory courses, and through his dedication, has been certified as a peer fitness trainer through the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the IAFF.”

Holbert’s willingness to tackle leadership roles is a big part of who he is, Spaulding said.

“During his employment here, he has become an instructor whom everyone can depend on,” he said.

Spaulding describes Holbert as dedicated, humble and giving, and tells a story about Holbert that happened one night when he had just off shift at 10:30 p.m.

“I had just finished all my paperwork for the day and walked out in the bay and saw him with three volunteers,” he said. “He was still training them on the use of ropes, different knots, some hitches, and uses. I thought to myself that it takes a special person to keep a group motivated enough to learn ropes during that time of day, especially after just finishing training. That night he not only motivated those firefighters, but he also motivated me as I sat down and started tying them myself.”

In addition to his responsibilities as supervisor, Holbert is a member of the training bureau, oversees all rope rescue and combustible gas monitoring equipment and is a fire service instructor.

Said Spaudling: “He has been very instrumental in the recruit program by being a mentor and instructor to whom which the recruits can turn to.”