Graduate, leader, instructor, student, veteran and lifelong learner: These are titles used to describe Donnie Daniels of Rocky Mount. A proven leader with over 24 years of experience in emergency services, his cross-functional background includes military, law enforcement, administrative, professional and volunteer fire experience. He personifies Dallas Herring’s philosophy, “taking people where they are and carrying them as far as they can go.”
Daniels began his career in 1999 as a firefighter with the City of Rocky Mount. Five years later, while enrolled in Nash Community College’s Emergency Preparedness Technology curriculum program, he was promoted to Captain. In 2006, at the age of 37, he completed his Associate in Applied Science degree in Emergency Preparedness Technology.
“My time at Nash Community College was a challenge, as it should be. I remember what it was like being a full time student and a full time firefighter. At the same time, I was a husband, a father of three very active kids, a youth baseball coach, a volunteer firefighter with Red Oak Fire Department, as well as staying active in my church. I remember at times it seemed a little overwhelming,” Daniels said.
As Daniels continued his education, determination helped him persevere, balancing work, family and community involvement. In 2007, Daniels completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Safety Administration from Grand Canyon University. He reached his next educational milestone when he graduated from the North Carolina Fire Rescue Management Institute at UNC-Charlotte in 2008.
In his role as Battalion Chief of Operations for the City of Rocky Mount Fire Department, Daniels provides emergency service and incident command leadership and oversees daily operations for four fire stations. He is an active fire service member who has been involved in many leadership roles and projects including: the Flood Emergency Planning Group, Risk Management Team, CISD Team, VIPER Task Group, RIT Task Group and Rocky Mount Fire Department’s Swiftwater Emergency Response Team – a state resource for North Carolina Emergency Management.
Daniels exhibits an unfailing commitment to “lifelong learning” and has completed 66 courses at Nash Community College since graduating in 2006. He holds numerous professional certifications including NC Emergency Medical Technician, NC Level I Fire Inspector, NC Level II/Qualified Fire Service Instructor, NC Rescue Technician, NC Level I Life Safety educator and NC Level II Fire Officer. He still continues to serve as a Fire Service Instructor – a role he has held since 2003. He is currently enrolled in the Executive Fire Officer Development Program at the National Fire Academy.
Donnie Daniels is an active member of the Nash County Fire and Rescue Association and the North Carolina Association of Fire Chiefs. Membership is not enough; he seeks opportunities to make significant contributions to the Nash-Rocky Mount community by his leadership and service. He was selected as the 2012 Nash Community College Outstanding Alumnus Award recipient for his achievements and for providing inspiration for current Nash Community College students.
“Success is when you go home at the end of the day and you know you have led with integrity by being honest and transparent with those around you, cared about others by making them feel important and valued, encouraged those who are going through difficult times to not give up and inspired those around you to perform their best and climb to a higher level,” Daniels said.