After 40 years, Crafton Hills College Professor of Emergency Services Jim Holbrook Retires

By on August 6, 2018

When classes begin Monday, Aug. 13 at Crafton Hills College (CHC), they will be without long-time Professor of Emergency Services Jim Holbrook. Holbrook retired June 30 and has indicated that he wants to learn how to play the ukulele and remain active in education. But he also remains open to other opportunities.

“I’ve never been retired before. I have no idea what to expect,” said Holbrook, 61. “But I know that I am not going to sit around and garden for the next 40 years, and I’m not going to sit around and be reflective on what I’ve done.”

Holbrook’s decision to retire was not years in the making he did talk to others about the possibility of “hanging up his hat.” But his retirement did “just happen” as have many other occasions in his life. Becoming a teacher was not intentional for Holbrook. It began when he was approached by Pat Thomas, CHC’s first paramedic program director, to precept a student — and he enjoyed it.

“I said, ‘Yes,’ and sort of had fun doing that,” Holbrook recalled. “Then I started teaching adjunct and the rest is history.”

Holbrook acknowledges that teaching has allowed him to expose his students to something they’ve never experienced before and in world of emergency services, the patient comes first. For Holbrook walking away from teaching full-time presents both opportunities and the unknown from him, Holbrook said that “he will miss the most is the students at Crafton Hills and they journey they went on together.”

“My task has always been as an emissary of peace and help a student get outside of whatever bias they have,” he continued. “As an EMS, whatever family you go to is going to have a different heritage, a different religion, a different practice, a whole bunch of differences than you have. But as long as the person comes first, who cares about the rest of that stuff?”

Holbrook reflected on his 40 years in the classroom saying: “It was rewarding. For you to be able to take someone who believed one way and was open enough to allow somebody else’s belief system to be real, they grow up,” he said. “And the other thing is they challenged me in the sense that, ‘Alright, you’re an old hippie. So, how did you get to that point?’ I don’t want them to think like me. They’re way better role models than mine and should disagree with me.

“That’s one of the things we always talked about,” he continued. “There’s almost eight billion people on this planet and all those eight billion people are necessary. So, we shouldn’t think alike, we shouldn’t always agree. It all goes back to that quote by Abraham Lincoln that said, ‘If two people always agreed, one is unnecessary.’ So, you should have difference of opinion, you should have different processes. I never tried to have a student mold me. I used to always say, ‘You should be one step better than me.’”