Instructor Who Died at Fire Academy Remembered

For nearly 30 years, Timothy R.S. Campbell was a familiar face at the National Fire Academy and Emergency Management Institute.


EMMITSBURG, Md. -- For nearly 30 years, Timothy R.S. Campbell was a familiar face on the campus of the National Fire Academy and Emergency Management Institute.

On Thursday, colleagues gathered in the chapel to remember the EMI professor for his tenacity for education and mentoring thousands.

Campbell died on Sept. 28, a few weeks after falling in the wet hallway outside the campus cafeteria.

He was lauded for his expertise in emergency management and his contributions on a number of task forces including one addressing terrorism.

“Tim was perfect for this assignment. He was a great asset,” NFA Deputy Superintendent Kirby Kiefer said.

Kiefer added that Campbell was held in very high regard throughout the country.

Albert Fluman, chief, integrated emergency management branch, told the crowd: “Mere words are not going to do justice for Tim Campbell…”

Fluman remembered how his colleague adopted Emmitsburg as his second home, and became an expert on local information including the daily specials in town restaurants.

Campbell was responsible not only for instructing but developing the curriculum for many, many train the trainer courses at EMI.

“He had a large impact on emergency management across our nation,” Fluman said.

Retired Beloit, WI Fire Chief Jim Reseburg remembered: “When you asked Tim a question, he would never answer. Instead, he would take you on a journey…and you would figure it out.”

Reseburg recalled the last moments with Campbell. Taking a break from a meeting in the same building as the cafeteria, the group was trying to decide on lunch plans.

The former chief said his friend told him to step out in the rain, and depending how wet he was they would make the decision to drive to a restaurant or eat in. As he obeyed, he felt a tug, and realized Campbell was holding onto him laughing.

“He was very happy to be here…” he said, adding that it was the last time he had with his friend.

Retired Kissimmee Chief John Chapman said Campbell embraced educating people about concept and theory of emergency management. If the powerpoint went out, it was OK, he said, because he knew his subject inside and out.

“He asked tough questions,” Chapman said because he wanted his students to think and realize that’s what they’d be facing as emergency managers.

Burt Clark reminisced about the times he spent with Campbell at conferences and working on course curriculum. Clark as a NFA instructor, and his friend, the emergency management expert spent a great deal of time collaborating.

Clark said the two shared a bond, one that he will cherish. “Tim was part of my dash,” he said, referring to the symbol on a tombstone between the date of birth and date of death.