MILFORD, Del.- As we enter Black History Month, a local fire company makes history here on Delmarva.
The Carlisle Fire Company recently appointed Shawn Hinton as chief. He is the first African American chief in the department’s 221 year history.
Chief Hinton has 15 years of experience under his belt and said he is honored to be the new voice of the department.
He said fellow firefighters pushed him to take on the role they believed he was destined to fill.
“I’ve always got questioned by membership or other friends in other departments about running,” Chief Hinton said. “I was always like ‘next year I’ll run’ and they were like ‘man you just have to do it.'”
Milford Mayor, Archie Campbell, who made his own mark as the first black mayor in 2018, said he is glad to see times changing.
“I know the history going back to the Carlisle Fire Company,” said Mayor Campbell. “When a black person applied they were always turned down and there was a person, Mr. Worthy, who actually took the fire company to court and won.”
Mayor Campbell said he thinks this is a huge step for the centuries old institution.
Chief Hinton said he has a few goals in mind:
“I’m looking forward to rebuilding the recruitment and retention and getting those response times back to where they need to be,” he said.
The department holds and election for chief each year. However, not just anyone can run. A person must be nominated by someone else in the department to be considered.
Chief Hinton said it’s a good feeling knowing his colleagues trust him in the position.
“They’ve seen my work and how I react to the community and how I react with the members,” he said. “It’s a humbling feeling to know that other past chiefs who have sat in this seat before believe in me and believe I can do the job.”
Chief Hinton writing his own page of black history as he takes the reigns at the Carlisle Fire Company.