LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit, who’s a Louisiana Fire Chief Hall of fame inductee garnishes yet another achievement.
The Hall of Fame honor was bestowed upon him a year ago.
Over the weekend, Benoit assumed the title of President of the International Association of Fire Chiefs – Southwestern Division.
“It was a childhood dream to be a firefighter,” Benoit stated.
As Fire Chief Benoit moves about his office, he walks past glimpses of his journey. “In the first grade that changed with a coloring book in school where I saw a firefighter. It kind of peeked my interest,” Benoit said.
He says when he turned 18-years-old he applied to be a firefighter but found he was too young for the job. “They lowered it to 18 by the time I was 20. I applied and came on at 20-years-old.”
I was 40 years ago that he climbed his first ladder to become what he says he was destined to be. “After I got in I started to understand how the structure worked, which is kind of like para-military, then I kind of started to maneuver from there.”
He says ironically, his aspirations to be chief were sparked by controversy over qualifications for the job. “I said wait a minute, I got all this why should I sit on the sidelines? So, I competed and that’s when I started to look and say yes I can be fire chief,” Benoit explained.
Today, Benoit’s Hall of Fame plaque hangs on the wall of his office as if it’s always been there. “I had a lot of people in my life who helped me to be able to maneuver through life and through the good, bad and ugly.”
Chief Benoit says faith has also paved the road he now travels.
He’s learned that every challenge handled properly comes with its just rewards. “Always do the right thing. When you found out you made a mistake correct it. Don’t hide it or cover it up. Just correct it and move on,” Benoit said.