Serve and Protect

Captain Joseph Holmes Colleton County Fire-Rescue


This month’s serve and protect is on Captain Joseph Holmes with Colleton County Fire-Rescue.

Holmes grew up in the Yemassee area and started as volunteering as a junior volunteer at the Yemassee fire department. He has always been interested in firefighting as both his parents were members of the Hilton Head Island rescue squad in the 1970s. Holmes says, “I got old enough to volunteer, it was something that I wanted to do and my parents were in support of. My dad also started volunteering again in Yemassee when I started, so its always been in the family.” Holmes attended Thomas Heyward Academy and USC-Beaufort for college, then somebody told him try Colleton County Fire-Rescue. He came to Colleton County in 2004, started part time, and then went full time.

Both of his parents were paramedics back in the day as well. He says’ “I told Chief McRoy when I got hired that I wanted to be a paramedic one day, I got my EMT and worked through that for quite a few years, then I got my paramedic certification and the worked my way up to being a engineer and eventually a Captain.”

When asked about what he enjoys about being a first responder, Holmes says, “I think I really have the heart to help people, service is really what draws me in, seeing that what I did made a difference and I really helped that person. My dad would often help people in sides of the road and as volunteer firemen, after a vehicle accident or something they he would help them find a place to stay or he would really go above and beyond. I think that really is something that has really stuck with me, being able to make a difference and help somebody else out when they’re having a bad day.”

He adds, “There’s no day the same. Even though it might be a routine day. There’s always something a little bit different.

Community outreach is a big part of firefighting, Holmes says, “Kids are always excited to see the fire trucks. I’ve got four kids my own and I’ve seen them all go through the stages of it looks good from a distance, but I don’t want to sit in it. Then as they get up through the toddler ages, they get a little bit more confident. They’ll sit in the driver’s seat for a second, but they don’t want to get far from mommy or daddy’s arms. You can always get a kid to wave at you if you’re in a fire truck and you wave as you go by. Everybody loves fire trucks; I enjoy driving in the parades because everybody likes the trucks.

Holes has been at Colleton County Fire-Rescue for 20 years. He has been married to Michelle for 11 years in September. He says, “I really think that the best the best part about being here is that the department is a family when it comes down to it.”

When asked what he would like to do if time and money were no object, Holmes says, “I would probably go on an elk hunt or a big family trip somewhere. I’m very much an advocate for family time.”