October 4, 2023

Fire chief’s passion for learning earns DETC award

“Ever since I was a young boy, I always wanted to work within the fire service. In fact, if you look within my high school yearbook, there is a comment that I placed where it states that I would love to play guitar like Eric Clapton, but I would probably end up working within the fire department.”

Today, that prophecy rings true for Baugo (Ind.) Fire Chief Chad Carey, who was just named as the 2014 DETC Outstanding Graduate for CSU.

CSU Admissions, Marketing and Outreach Vice President and veteran fire officer Billy Hayes said Carey is a worthy choice for the DETC honor.

“He is a great leader in the Indiana fire service. He is an ambassador for the fire service and also for CSU,” Hayes said. “When I post something on Facebook and ask questions about the fire service, Chad gets into conversations. He’s not posting funny comments or agree to something, Chad will actually put content into his comments.”

He added that Carey was instrumental in working with CSU to connect with the Executive Fire Officer program.

The 39-year-old entered his beloved field of fire service 1994 as a volunteer at Baugo Fire Department in Indiana. As he progressed in the ranks, Carey wanted a bachelor’s degree in fire science to improve his career options and knowledge.

“In 2009, I was searching for a way to further my education within the fire service—whether it was Internet or fire journals—in order to pursue higher positions.  During the search, I came across CSU which met the demand, needs and goals of my busy life,” said Carey, an Elkhart, Ind., native. “After discussing the findings with my wife, I decided to take the jump and it was the best professional decision of my life.”

After enrolling in CSU, Carey worked at the Baugo Fire Department and as a captain on a medic/engine company at the nearby Elkhart Fire Department. He maintained both jobs and a 4.0 GPA with CSU. During the final phase of his degree, Carey applied and was hired as fire chief of Baugo Fire Department in 2011 where he had been named Fire Officer of the Year twice.

He credits much of promotion to fire chief to his CSU bachelor’s degree in fire science.

“As I tell any firefighter, or others in which I have the ability to influence, the only way to further succeed within your passion or goals is to obtain the education that is necessary.  CSU has given me that education and I know it will deliver the same to any others who strive to succeed,” he said.

Upon graduating with honors in 2012 from CSU, Carey was soon accepted to the Executive Fire Officer program at the National Fire Academy, a longtime goal. After completing his bachelor’s, Carey enrolled with CSU to obtain a master’s degree in business administration with a concentration in public administration.  He completed the degree program in February 2014 and uses the knowledge to aid him in his administrative duties as a fire chief.

His position has also afforded Carey the opportunity teach fellow officers and share his knowledge to inspire and influence others.

“Delivering the tools and information that is needed for others to succeed, is part of the passion, but actually having the opportunity to see those individuals grow and achieve their goals and dreams solidifies the effort within pursuing my degrees.”