By Amanda Major
Lt. Tommy Gebhart with the Foley Fire Department recently visited Mrs. Major’s Leadership classes.
Lt. Gebhart is a native of Foley as well as a 1989 graduate of Foley High School. He is also an E.M.T with Med. Star Ambulance service. This was his 4th year to visit Mrs. Major’s freshman students.
Lt. Gebhart spoke about what leadership is, defining the differences between being a leader as opposed to being “a boss.“ Students watched video from Rhode Island’s The Station nightclub fire, which killed 100 people in 2003.
The fire was caused by pyrotechnics set off by the tour manager of the evening’s headlining band, Great White, which ignited flammable sound insulation foam in the walls and ceilings surrounding the stage. A fast-moving fire engulfed the club in 5½ minutes. In addition to the 100 fatalities, 230 people were injured and another 132 escaped without injuries. Students watched video of the fire through its ignition and rapid growth, as billowing smoke quickly made escape impossible. Blockage of building exits further hindered evacuation. Lt. Gebhart explained that poor leadership ultimately lead to this tragedy.
Lt. Gebhart has been married to another 1989 Foley High School graduate, Tonya Humphries Gebhart, for 24 years.
They have two sons that currently attend Foley High, senior Zach Gebhart and junior Ryan Gebhart.
Lt. Gebhart has worked for the Foley Fire Department for 22 years. He said he is excited to go to work every day, where he teaches and practices good leadership.
Mrs. Major’s students appreciate the time he gives to be a guest speaker in her Leadership classes.