CORNELL E. BROOKS
Peoria Fire Department
Occupation: Cornell Brooks’ description of his job is short and sweet, “Protect the citizens of Peoria, IL.” As a captain with Peoria Fire Department, he’s responsible for a three-man fire truck crew based at Edward B. Gaines Fire Station #4, named in honor of Peoria’s first Black firefighter. Mr. Brooks is also an emergency medical technician. (EMT).
Community Involvement: He is treasurer of the Peoria Afro-American Firefighters Association (AAFA) and secretary of Peoria Firefighters Union Local 50. He has participated in many AAFA service projects, including giveaways for Thanksgiving and Christmas, along with the AAFA’s collaboration with the firefighters’ union to give away school supplies. His advocacy for financial literacy led Black Enterprise magazine to feature his successful effort to get out of financial debt.
Education: Associates of applied science, fire science, Illinois Central College
Three things he’s passionate about: “Being the same parent to my children that my mother and father were to me; being a good husband to my wife; and trusting in God for everything.”
Three favorite hobbies: “Spending time with my family, playing video games with my children, and yard work.”
Career influence or inspiration: He credits his career to Melanie Anderson, Peoria’s first Black woman firefighter who retired as division chief of fire prevention. Anderson encouraged him to go to school and persevere. “I try to model myself after her. If it wasn’t for her and my wife, Jammie, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Inspirational quote: “It’s not how many times you get knocked down, it’s how many times you get back up.”
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