Chaplain Milton Smith is a true Floridian, being born, raised and educated locally.  He is married, has two daughters, a stepson, a granddaughter and grandson. He has been very involved with community projects and has served on several city committees in the past. From a young age he had an interest in becoming a first responder. He accomplished that at the age of 16 when he became part of a volunteer ambulance agency.    

Emergency services and Fire Department related experience: 

  • Retired Lieutenant, Palm Harbor Fire Rescue after nearly 28 years of service. 
  • Worked for Pasco County Fire Rescue assigned as rescue driver.
  • Volunteer Firefighter/EMT at Port Richey Fire Department.
  • Worked for Port Richey Police Department as Police & Fire Dispatcher. 
  • Worked for the former Tarpon Springs Memorial Ambulance Service.
  • Worked at Stretcher / Wheelchair Limo Non-Emergency Transportation Service.

Ministerial Background: 

  • Licensed and Ordained Minister with the First South Florida Missionary Baptist District Association. 1988.
  • Retired pastor of the Mt. Hermon Missionary Baptist Church in Tarpon Springs.
    • Senior Pastor for 28 years. Associate Minister for 12 years. 
  • Attended Florida Seminary and Bible College, Lakeland, Fl. 
  • 2nd Vice President Congress #4 of 1st South Florida Miss. Baptist District Asso.
  • Third Vice Moderator of the 1st South Florida Miss. Baptist District Association. 


  • Florida Firefighter Safety and Health Collaborative - West Central Florida Regional Chaplaincy Coordinator
  • Chaplain with the Federation of Fire Chaplains
  • Chaplain for Tarpon Springs Fire & Rescue
  • Chaplain for Palm Harbor Fire & Rescue
  • Chaplain for Oldsmar Fire & Rescue
  • Chaplain for Clearwater Fire & Rescue
  • Honorary Chaplain for the American Legion Post 46
  • Tarpon Springs Ministerial Association 
  • CISM of West Central Florida
  • Founder, president and CEO of All First Responders Matter. (2018)
  • PCEMSAC Chaplaincy Invocation Coordinator.  
    Member: Florida Westcoast Fire Association  


  • Fire Science Technology, AS Degree, St. Petersburg College
  • Florida Fire Service Instructor I
  • Fire Service Suicide Prevention - instructor
  • Mental Health First Aid - instructor
  • CISM - individual and group
  • Emotional and Spiritual Care in Disasters
  • Holds several other Fire Department related certifications.
  • Holds several other certificates in the Mental Health related field. 
  • IAFF Peer Support

Community Service (All current)

  • Board of Directors, Advent Health North Pinellas Hospital Foundation
  • Board of Directors, Directions for Living, Inc. Clearwater
  • Board of Directors, Rotary International Tarpon Springs Club
  • Founder/ President of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Event & Scholarship Foundation. (Since 1994) Tarpon Springs

Acclamations (Many received over the years, listed are a select few)

  • Firefighter of the Year 1990- Palm Harbor Fire Rescue, Palm Harbor, Fl.
  • Educator of the Year 2004- St. Petersburg College 
  • Employee of the Year 2013- Palm Harbor Fire Rescue, Palm Harbor, FL.
  • Distinguished Service Award 2017- 1st South Florida Miss. Baptist District Asso.
  • Citizen of the Year 2019- Tarpon Springs Elks Club.
  • Lifetime Community Service Award 2020- Citizens Alliance for Progress Inc.
  • Citizen of the Year 2021-Pinellas County, Fl. awarded by Masonic Lodge.

Personal Statement:

My heart is for the firefighters and their families. To reach out and be there for them before, during and after any crisis in their lives. Building relationships by exercising the ministry of presence is of the utmost importance in chaplaincy. By doing these things, it is the hope that firefighters will build resiliency and have an overall better career in today’s fire service.  

  • Chaplain Milton Smith is available for speaking engagements and ceremonies.

James Angle is a retired fire chief that served nearly over 40 years in the fire service. Seventeen years were served as the Fire Chief and three years as Fire Commissioner, of Palm Harbor Fire Rescue Department in Pinellas County, Florida.  After retirement James was employed for almost five years as the Program Director for the Fire and Public Safety Training Center at St. Petersburg College, in St. Petersburg, Florida. He currently remains an adjunct faculty member in the Public Safety Administration programs at St. Petersburg College.   

He began his career in the Monroeville Fire Department in suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as well as the Pittsburgh EMS Bureau. After moving to Florida in 1980 he was employed by Hallandale Beach Fire Rescue, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue and the South Trail Fire Protection and Rescue District before being hired as the Chief of Palm Harbor. In these departments he ascended through the ranks from fire fighter/paramedic to fire chief. 

Brigett Cerce, CPE, EDQ, CTO

Brigett Cerce comes from an emergency telecommunications background with experience and training related to mental health support for first responders. She began her career as an Explorer and then volunteer firefighter for Indian Rocks Volunteer Firefighter Association. Subsequently hired by Pinellas Regional 911, she ultimately facilitated their robust Mental Health Program. After 22 years with Pinellas, Brigett relocated to Pinehurst, NC, where she worked for Moore County Public Safety. Earning her Certified Public Safety Executive (CPE) designation from APCO in 2021, she continues to actively support mental health for all first responders locally and nationally. A mother of a Marine and two elementary aged children, Brigett enjoys travelling, cooking and crafts and spends her downtime with her family.  

APCO Committee Membership 2021: 

Health and Wellness Committee 

Peer Support/CISM work group - Chair 

Professional Development Events Committee 

NENA Work Group Membership 2021:  

WELLNESS-Engaging w/Mental Health Professionals Working Group  

Implementation Subgroup - Co-Chair 

All First Responders Matter Charitable Corporation (Executive Board member) 2021 

GPSTC - Mental Health Symposium, attendee 2018 

Pinellas County Wellness and Fitness Committee - inaugural member 2019-2020 

Pinellas Regional 911 - Mental Health Program Manager 2018-2020 

PPFD Mental Health Symposium for First Responders, attendee 2019