Bartow Bio: Chief Craig Millsap is evidence of a hard working man
by Shaka S. Lias
Apr 17, 2011 | 2150 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bartow County Fire Chief Craig Millsap poses with Bartow.
SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
Bartow County Fire Chief Craig Millsap poses with Bartow. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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The walls of Chief Craig Millsap's office are covered with plaques, certificates, degrees, and framed pictures of the life of a firefighter. His desk is a bit "unorganized," he calls it evidence of a working man. Perhaps the plan of his parents, Carlos Millsap and the late Audrey Millsap worked. From the beginning his father instill in him and his siblings a work ethic. Telling young Craig, "You can do anything and have anything you want in life as long as you're willing to work for it." His mother added the softer, compassionate side. "She grounded us with religion, grounded us with love for our fellow man and things like that. It was kind of a good compliment from both of them," Chief Millsap said. A compliment of Carlos and Audrey Millsap gives you Craig Millsap.

Occupation: Bartow County Fire Chief for the past six years

Residence: Born and raised in Bartow County

Age: 39

Family: Seven-year-old son, Gunner

Education: Cass High School class of 1989, Bachelors in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College, two Associate degrees from Georgia Highlands and a Masters in Emergency Management from Jacksonville State University

Q: Why did you choose this career?

A: I've been in public safety for 20 years, starting on the EMS side working for ambulance service. I went to EMT school to make sure I could take the sight of blood because I thought one day I was going to go to medical school. I ended up getting a job with the ambulance service here [in Bartow] and just progressed in the public safety discipline [and] that ended up being what I fell in love with and what I wanted to do. After that, I got my firefighter training and emergency management training.

Q: What do you love most about your job?

A: The people, that's the number one thing. I have working with me the greatest accumulation of personalities that really take their job serious. They want to help people and they are here to protect the citizens and provide that service to Bartow County. They are dedicated individuals who share that same interest I have in protecting the citizens here.

Q: Who is the most influential person in your life?

A: I can't say there has been just one, but [my] parents have been very influential on me from the start. My dad is the one that put in us our work ethic and that drive to succeed. He would tell us if we want a million dollar house and we're willing to work for it, to pay for it, we can have it, but its only going to come from hard work. Then our mother was the opposite that added the compassion. She grounded us with religion, grounded us with love for our fellow man and things like that. It was kind of a good compliment from both of them.

Q: What are some of your favorite hobbies?

A: Scuba diving. I also like to fish and any outdoors activities. Right now my hobbies have to do with different sports my son is involved in. I help coach his Little League team, so that takes up the majority of my time.

Q: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

A: I don't know if I have any surprises anymore. I think everyone knows everything there is to know about me. I think the biggest surprise would be that once upon a time I was a competitive body builder.

Q: What is your favorite vacation spot?

A: I really don't have a favorite. I love to travel. I have a place in Alabama that I go to almost every weekend. I love to travel and see different places. Actually that would be the thing that would surprise people the most. I've seen a good bit of the world. I've been to Japan, Switzerland, Costa Rica. I love to travel and learn about different cultures, see different things and just experience life.

Q: Do you like spicy foods?

A: Yes, I do I like spicy foods, especially Cajun food. I think it matches a little bit of a Southern flare. I grew up with my mom being a tradition Southern chef. When you have that and add the spices of Cajun into it, that kind of gives me taste.

Q: What is your favorite season?

A: I'm kind of a spring and fall person. I don't like it when it's extremely hot, and I don't like it when it's really cold. I guess the other hobby I have is riding my Harley. I like to ride my motorcycle a lot and those fall and spring rides are really good.

Q: What is your favorite Bible scripture?

A: Psalms 119:34 "Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart."

Q: Who are the members of the Millsap family?

A: There are four of us. We have a sister who is the oldest and is chief parole officer in Dalton. My whole family is in police work except me. That just wasn't my calling, but I still went the public safety route.

What probably kept me out of the police work is, when I went to college, I had a job lined up to work in the jail that summer I was home. Everything was set up and I got a call two days before saying there was a no nepotism policy in place at that time. At that time I think my dad was there and even though he was on the road and I would've been in the jail, if I would have worked that summer, I may have taken a totally different career path. You always look back at those little turns in the road where you could have gone one way or the other.

Q: Is there any sibling rivalry?

A: Yes, like with any siblings we always have. With Clark being the oldest brother, not so much with Carey the middle brother, but the oldest and youngest are always there.

That's one of the things that people wonder about us, because we all are in public safety. In my family we have the ability to separate business from personal. Clark and I will have a disagreement, based on I've got to look out for the best interest of the fire department and he has to look out for the best interest of the sheriff department. I have people ask, "Y'all not a close family are you?" We're as close as you can be. We're that type of family where if you need me call me, I will be there in a heart beat. Business is business and personal is personal. From day one we've had that in place. Once we take the uniform off we're brothers, we're Clark, Craig and Carey.

Q: What is the biggest misconception about the Millsap brothers?

A: I don't think there are any misconceptions [from] the people who grew up here and know us. They know our backgrounds, have worked with us and know us on that deep personal level [and] know what it's all about. I think the influx of citizens that's come into Bartow County gets it confused. They don't know us and the only thing they know is the professional [side]. When you have the same family name, it makes people automatically think about the old days of the good old boy system.

We are two different people, with different organizations, and like I said, we keep business and personal separate. We may not always agree on things, but at the end of the day we're still brothers.

Q: What legacy would you like to leave?

A: I don't strive for fame, fortune or anything like that, I just want people to remember I was here. I want to leave things better than I found them. People have taken things to a certain level then they passed it on to someone else to move it forward. I want people to say [that] no matter what it was I was involved in whether it was the fire department, my future calling or the affect I had on my little boy. I just want people to remember I was here and I made things better by being here.