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February’s Betty J. Lewis Unsung Hero is James Utsey

Betty J. Lewis Unsung Hero for February is James Utsey

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The SAU Tech Black History Celebration Committee is excited to announce James Utsey, as the February 2022 Betty J. Lewis Unsung Hero.

Each year the Black History Celebration Committee, comprised of college staff and community members, hosts an annual fundraiser to raise money for the Betty J. Lewis Minority Scholarship Fund. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 Black History Celebration was canceled. In lieu of this event, the Black History Celebration Committee made the decision to name a Betty J. Lewis Unsung Hero for each month leading up to the 2022 event. The 2022 event is scheduled for February 24, 2022, and the event is sold-out.

James Utsey began his fire service career with the Camden Fire Department in Camden, Arkansas.  James retired from the CFD in March of 1999 serving the citizens of Camden for 20 years.

James was chosen as Firefighter of the year by the Camden Kiwanis Club.  He also became a Hazardous Materials Technician through the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland, and an adjunct instructor for the Arkansas ire Academy.

James went to work for the Arkansas Fire Academy full time in 2002 where he served as Instructor, Firefighter Standards Coordinator, Assistant Director, and Accreditation and Certification Manager.  While working for the fire academy, he received the Arkansas Fire Academy Excellence award and the SAU Tech Chancellors Award.

James also served as Director of Student Life at SAU Tech and Assistant Director of SAU Tech Career Academy. He is also an Adjunct Instructor for the Fire and Emergency Response and the Fire Science Management Degree Programs.

James’s education includes an A.A.S in Fire Prevention from Garland County Community College, a B.P.S from the University of Memphis in Fire Administration, and an MPA from Southern Arkansas University in Public Administration.

While working on his Master’s James began his non-profit Operation SAFE (Smoke Alarms For the Elderly).  SAFE supplies and installs smoke detectors in the homes of elderly citizens of Camden.

James is an FAA-certified sUAS pilot and is Chief Pilot for AWU Home Inspections and Shutter Up Photography.

James is a member of Whitest Chapel Missionary Baptist Church where he serves as an usher.  James and his wife Sandra have been married for 34 years.