Instructor Swartz is a native of Ohio but currently lives in Redington Beach, Florida with his wife and daughters. Doug is the Founder and Commanding Officer of the National Honor Guard Academy and has been a member or instructor of honor guards for over 35 years. After nearly 20 years in the fire service, Doug has retired from that calling to fully focus on teaching and honoring those that serve. Doug has established and assisted with the development of several honor guards and is involved nationally with honor guard ceremonies and funeral response. Doug established his department’s first Honor Guard shortly after joining Clearwater Fire Rescue in 2001 and it has quickly gained national recognition. He is involved on the State and National level with both Honor Guard and LODD Response Planning. Doug is the Chair for the Florida Fire Chiefs LODD Committee and leads the State Response Team to assist departments with handling an LODD. Other notable affiliations include: Board Member/Regional Director for the National Honor Guard Commanders Association, Honor Guard Command Staff for the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial Weekend, Member of Advisory Committee formed for the development of the DOJ/NFFF State Response Teams and National Response Plan, and assists with the Florida Fallen Firefighter Memorial through his membership in the Florida Fire Service Honor Guard Association. Getting his start in the United States Marine Corps, where he ascended to serve as Battalion Colors Sergeant, Doug never lost the passion for what the honor guard stands for and continues to share it with dedicated individuals across the country.
Instructor Grout has been an Instructor with the Academy since 2006. Hal is retired from the East Hartford (CT) Fire Department. He has over forty years of involvement with Fire and EMS agencies and has been a Paramedic from 1987-2019. He began his Drill and Ceremony training as a Bagpiper in 1993 and graduated from the National Public Safety Honor Guard Academy in 2005. Still an avid piper, he is currently playing with the Manchester Pipe Band and has competed in the World Pipe Band Championships several times. Hal is the former Commander and founding member of the Connecticut Statewide Honor Guard and is a Command Staff Member for the annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Hal has committed himself to the performance and education of Public Safety Honor Guards all over the country. He strives for perfection, and prides himself on attention to detail in all aspects of his life. Hal Lives in Enfield, Connecticut with his wife Deb and two children, Sydney and Jameson. His children have followed in their father's footsteps in playing instruments in pipe bands as well. (Sydney plays tenor drum and Jameson plays the snare drum.) Hal enjoys spending time with his family and sharing their love for the Boston Bruins and New England Patriots.
Instructor McNamara was born and raised in Massachusetts, but now lives in Roanoke, Virginia with his wife and son. He served in the United States Air Force from 1988-1998, where he was a Security Forces Specialist and was assigned as a member of the security detail on-board Air Force One from 1995-1998. After his military service, Instructor McNamara spent the next 20 years in law enforcement in Virginia as a patrol officer, patrol sergeant, academy instructor, and most notably a member and team coordinator of the Honor Guard for 18 of his 20 years. Instructor McNamara now continues to pay it forward to families and departments in need as an employee of Oakey’s Funeral Service and Crematory. Instructor McNamara’s passion for drill and ceremony and attention to detail helped him build his own Honor Guard along with Honor Guards from police and fire departments around the Roanoke Valley, and since 2008 have made him an asset to the NHGA staff and its students.
lives in Roanoke Virginia where Toby is the Deputy Chief of Operations with the Roanoke County Fire & Rescue Department. He has been associated with the fire service since 1989 serving ten years as a volunteer before becoming a career Firefighter/Medic. Toby is an Academy graduate and a Charter Member of his department’s Honor Guard that was established in 2006. He currently serves as the Commander for Roanoke County’s Honor Guard and is a member of the Virginia Local Assistance State Team that assists public safety departments that suffer a Line of Duty Death. Toby’s Daughter Nicole is currently following in his footsteps working for Roanoke County, member of their guard and NHGA graduate herself, Toby’s son Teddy, who is also following in his footsteps, works for Spotsylvania Fire and EMS in Virginia and is waiting acceptance into their honor guard, Toby’s son Kristofer is not interested in the family business but is a successful courier. Toby’s attention to detail and commitment to honoring our fallen is exemplified in his service to assist as an Honor Guard Commander for the Virginia Fallen Firefighter Memorial Service and the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation Memorial Weekend in which he served as the Honor Guard Branch Director in 2017. His devotion to the fire service and the Academy is evident through his phrase used during the 2017 Memorial which was Line 6 of the Sentinel’s Creed, “my standard will remain perfection”. Toby is in the final stages of his career and is looking forward to retirement and living on a beach somewhere warm.
Tim currently resides in Connecticut with his lovely bride of nearly 50 years. He credits his wife as being the most understanding woman on the planet, and they have raised a successful daughter together. His family first approach is one of the cornerstones that the National Honor Guard Academy is built on and no doubt has had a profound impact on him and his family. As a Mental Health Specialist, Tim recognizes the importance of prioritizing life’s many missions and that keeping family and self care centered is the key to maintaining balance.
He has been involved with the Academy since it’s inception back in 2006. First as a student, then an instructor, and currently serves as Advisor and Consultant to the Executive Staff. Following his service in the US Navy, Tim pursued a career and life of public service before retiring from the fire service as Assistant Chief of Cheshire (CT) Fire Department. During his tenure he also served as 2012 Branch Director of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation Memorial Weekend and went on to be the Honor Guard Executive Officer for the Memorial Weekend from 2013-2019. Tim was honored to receive the title of Commander Emeritus of the Connecticut Statewide Honor Guard following many years of service to that organization and assisting countless agencies and individuals during some of their most challenging times. He is an author and successful entrepreneur but most of all he is a shining example of service before self. Tim is always eager to teach and takes every opportunity to share the passion for honoring those who serve.