Fireman of the Year: Binkley offers transparent leadership

Dec. 27, 2013 @ 12:50 PM

Robbie Binkley is a firemen’s fireman.
Having started his career as a 16-year-old volunteer, Thomasville Fire Department’s C-shift battalion chief has been where most of his men are.
Rather than push his wealth of knowledge on his men, Binkley values their input to make important decisions that impact TFD as a whole.
This transparent style of leadership, where every voice is heard, garnered Binkley a special honor as he was named  the department’s 2013 Officer of the Year.  
“I’m shocked,” Binkley, 40, said. “I didn’t expect to get it. We’ve got a bunch of good officers. It’s an honor to be given that title.”
Shocking as it was for the 25-year veteran, Binkley’s honor is no surprise to those in the department.
“[Binkley] is very efficient,” said Chief Martin Dailey. “He really values the opinions of his guys and he includes them in his decision-making process. The guys really respect that I think. He has a ton of experience but isn’t afraid to ask his men what they think. He’s very deserving of this honor.”
Binkley’s career began in 1989 as a junior volunteer at Pilot Fire Department. Binkley, a Thomasville native who graduated from East Davidson High School in 1991, came to the Thomasville Fire Department in 1997 and worked his way up the career ladder. As battalion chief of C-shift, he leads 18 men at four fire stations.
His journey has made him the leader he is today.  
“All the times I spent as a fireman, engineer and a captain, I just like involving people,” Binkley said. “If they can put their input into something,I want to hear it.”
Being nominated by those very men made the award even more special.
“I was just excited,” said Binkley. “I didn’t see it coming. We have a lot of good officers here and to be picked out of all the guys meant a lot to me. They’re the ones who have to nominate you and then write something about you. It’s an honor.”
Binkley is married and has a 19-year-old. He relishes the daily challenges of being a  fireman.
“Every day is a different day and no two calls are the same,” Binkley said. “You don’t know what you’re going to get.”
Robbie Binkley — a firemen’s fireman.

Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or