By Ryan Haller – Staff Writer
Keith Williams didn’t even know he was nominated for Adjunct Instructor of the Year (by not one, but three of his colleagues), but he won. According to the men and women he works with, it is a well-deserved accolade. Williams, his fellow instructors say, is an extremely hardworking and dedicated firefighter, teacher, father of two, woodworker, and alumni of PPCC with an A.A.S. in Fire Science Technology.
Williams teaches (Fire Science Technology) FST 160 primarily, a fitness and P.E. course preparing aspiring firefighters for the grueling (Candidate Physical Ability Test) CPAT and helps out in Fire Academy 1 when needed.
Williams said what he likes about teaching is seeing that progression in the students and knowing that he’s helping them get what they want.
He didn’t really know what he was getting himself into when he first started teaching, but he now enjoys being able to guide the students on their path to become firefighters.
Growing up in Michigan, he had a couple of uncles that were firefighters, so it only seemed natural to give firefighting a go. He started out as a firefighter in the military when he was 19, later transferring to Fort Carson where he eventually worked for the city.
An adjunct instructor teaches part-time for the school, but Williams also works full-time at Local Station 17 in heavy rescue, which involves more than just firefighting.
“If they’re calling us, something’s wrong, they couldn’t figure it out. We go and have to think outside the box and fix stuff,” he said.
All of the FST faculty are licensed firefighters, even the full-time staff.
Williams has been a teacher at PPCC for 7 years and a firefighter for 25 years, 19 of those in Colorado Springs.
He is also on the Colorado Task Force One, a part of FEMA. He went to Texas and Florida with the Task Force after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma investigating the areas, searching homes and buildings for damage, and helping anyone who didn’t evacuate before those storms.
It’s pretty clear that Williams likes helping people. It’s what he enjoys about teaching and working as a firefighter in Heavy Rescue.
“The school has a lot of good programs here and I’m happy to be a part of the FST program,” he said.