Hall County Fire Services’ first training officer, who would later become a director within the Federal Emergency Management Agency, died March 1, 2017.
Cortez Lawrence served with Hall County Fire Services from 1972 to 1979.
“He has a tremendous history in the fire service for somebody to start out in Hall County,” retired Gainesville Fire Department Capt. Dale Perry said.
In 2007, Lawrence became FEMA’s director for the Center for Domestic Preparedness.
“He was a well respected leader and pioneer in the fire service, both in the state of Georgia and throughout the United States,” Hall County Fire Services posted on Facebook. “The contributions and impact that he made to our profession cannot be measured.”
Lawrence is at the top of the list of Georgia Smoke Divers, an elite and grueling training program for firefighters.
Before joining FEMA, Lawrence served as the National Fire Programs director at the U.S. Fire Administration, according to a FEMA news release.
He also was an educator with the National Fire Academy.
“Every time that I would drive into the National Fire Academy with my Gainesville Fire Department pickup truck, Cortez would come find me. He remembered his Hall County connections,” Perry said.