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Stephen Coleman Jr.

Chief | Auburn Fire Rescue Department | Adjunct Professor at Quinsigamond Community College

A firefighter for almost 25 years, Stephen Coleman Jr., Chief of the Auburn Fire Rescue Department, started at QCC in 1991, working on his Associate degree in fire science for 10 years.

“I worked full-time while I was at QCC, so the flexibility was huge for me, being able to take a class at a time. The other thing I liked was the fire science instructors were local, I would see them around at fires and the state fire academy,” Mr. Coleman said. “My mentor back then was a deputy in Leominster who was also an instructor at the fire academy. Twenty-three years later I now work with him teaching there as well. I share that story with my students at QCC, to let them know I started here too, and can hopefully serve as their mentor.”

He went onto complete his bachelor’s degree from Anna Maria College and his master’s degree in public administration from Clark University.

He is active in his profession, writing articles and speaking nationally and locally about various fire service topics including public relations. He has volunteered with Little League and formerly served as an elected official in Charlton for 10 years.

Mr. Coleman has served as chief of the Auburn Fire Rescue Department since 2011, he was Deputy Chief from 2006 to 2010. He was previously with the Charlton Fire Department for 16 years.

Mr. Coleman serves as the Chairman of Massachusetts Fire District Seven. The Fire District serves 25 cities and towns in southern Worcester County, providing mutual aid support and training. He coordinated a regional training program for the district for nine years, which involved training for new call and volunteer fire fighting recruits. In 2005, he was named Massachusetts Fire Fighter of the Year for his efforts with that program.

Mr. Coleman also serves as a Task Force Leader under the Statewide Fire Mobilization Plan, which brings resources and equipment around the state when larger emergencies occur, such as when the tornadoes hit the Springfield area in 2011. In that situation, he led a team of 46 firefighters that were assigned to search some of the heaviest hit neighborhoods in the city, where they searched 41 streets and about 300 homes door-to-door for injured people and surveyed structural damage for 12 hours.

Mr. Coleman is proud to have recently been named a Chief Fire Officer, a designation he has been working to earn for a few years. To earn this he had to accomplish certain milestones, including career training, publishing articles, public speaking and other contributions to the profession. There are less than 1,000 fire chiefs with this designation internationally and he is one of only 12 in Massachusetts.

He is an adjunct professor in the Fire Science department at Quinsigamond Community College and Anna Maria College. He also is an instructor at the Massachusetts Fire Academy in its Fire Officer programs.

“I enjoy interacting with the next generation of fire fighters and fire officers,” Mr. Coleman said.

He said being named on the 50 Guardians is positive for his students as well, for them to see that when you work hard and put the time in, good things will happen.

In the early 1990s, Mr. Coleman worked for a private ambulance company that provided 911 services to the Town of Auburn. “If you had told me in 1994, when I was on an ambulance crew, that I would be the fire chief here someday, I wouldn’t have believed it. You never know where you will end up,” he said. “The same with being nominated a Guardian, I wouldn’t have guessed it 23 years ago when I was sitting in a QCC classroom that I would be nominated for this award.”

Mr. Coleman lives in Charlton with his wife, Lynn, who also graduated from Quinsigamond Community College and is a registered nurse, and two children, Liam, 11 and Isabella, 9.