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From TCC to Fire Chief

Ed Elliott remembers the hustle and bustle of his last semester at Tidewater Community College. “I was taking 18 credits and had classes on every campus,” he said. “I’d pack food for the day, and then eat in the car as I went from campus to campus to get to my classes.”

What was the rush? Elliott, getting married the day after graduation, was determined to complete his degree before exchanging vows.

At the time, Elliott was a 26-year-old fire lieutenant for the city of Chesapeake, working days and nights.

“Looking back now, it really is a blur!” he said. “But life has been good. I’ve been married for 32 years to my wife, Teresa, and we have four children and five grandchildren.”

Elliott decided to give TCC a try at the urging of his co-workers at the fire station. “Once I started college work, it sparked my interest for more education, and I just kept going.”

At TCC, Elliott said, “I developed good study habits, time management and test taking strategies – all the things necessary for success in college.”

Elliott earned his Associate in Applied Science in Fire Science Technology in the early 1980s. He earned a second associate degree in English Bible from the Tabernacle Baptist Bible College and a bachelor of science from Bluefield College. He also completed the Executive Fire Officer Program through the National Fire Administration in the mid 1990s.

While earning his degrees, Elliott worked his way up the ranks of the Chesapeake Fire Department. Appointed fire chief in 2010, Elliott leads more than 450 fire and emergency medical service personnel and is dedicated to seeing younger people assume leadership positions in the department.

“In my business, you have to have a passion for life-long learning,” Elliott said. “I try to make a difference every day. My goal is to improve the quality of life for citizens while creating the best work environment for firefighters and medics.”

As an adjunct faculty member for TCC’s Fire Science program, Elliott shares his time teaching both students who desire a career in fire service and current firefighters aspiring promotions. “I love teaching and giving back to the next generation of firefighters,” he said. Elliott teaches two courses a year ranging from building construction to fire ground tactics and strategies to fire behavior and fire protection systems.

A member of Wayside Baptist Church, Elliott also leads a men’s Bible class, teaches Sunday school and works with young people.

TCC is a family affair with Elliott sharing his time with the TCC Alumni board, alongside his son Jason, a TCC and University of Virginia graduate. Elliott’s son Jon, a Virginia Beach firefighter, has taken fire science and other classes at TCC.

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