Helping Others Realize Their Dreams
The Booker T Bilbrew and Emerald Uniforms Legacy Scholarship
This scholarship is offered at FTCC for Associate Degree Nursing, Practical Nursing, Emergency Medical Services, Associates in Automotive Systems Technology, and Truck Operations Management students with a 3.0 GPA or higher taking at least a 6 credit-hour load.
Booker T Bilbrew
Booker T Bilbrew “pops”(03/30/1937-03/08/2017) was a devoted father who cared deeply about his family. He was an Army veteran of 22 years that served in Vietnam on two different tours. Starting in the Army, he was a diesel truck mechanic that truly loved what he did for a living.
In fact, the only thing he loved more than repairing and rebuilding an engine was his family. He raised his two children Keith Bilbrew, the founding member of this scholarship, and his sister, Candis here in Fayetteville, NC after he retired from the Army. Upon retiring from the Army, he continued to work many years as a diesel mechanic for other companies until he finally opened his own repair shop in 2006. He named his repair shop after his beloved late wife, Ann Holtkamp. Holtkamp Truck Service was still open when he had a severe stroke in November of 2012.
After the stroke, while his mental capacity did not diminish, he required full time total care as he had locked in syndrome. He was cared for by his Keith, Emerald, and her children at home until he passed away just shy of his 80th birthday on March 8th, 2017.
Keith still ran his truck repair business as “pops” wanted him to, despite the fact that none of us were diesel truck or any type of mechanics. With his passing, Keith and Emerald decided to finally shut down the shop and divert or business skills into an industry we at least have some knowledge of by opening Emerald Uniforms, LLC in April of 2017.
Dr. Keith Bilbrew,DNP, MSN, BSN, RN, CFER, CGRN
Keith has been in nursing for over 30 years starting as a medic in the United States Army and is currently employed in Advanced GI Lab at Cape Fear Valley Hospital. He is a founding member of this scholarship.
Emerald Uniforms is a HUB certified, minority-owned, female-owned, veteran-owned, nurse-owned, family owned and operated small business.
Keith and Emerald, being nurses and nursing instructors as long as they have is what fueled their desire to open a uniform store. They were both frustrated with the lack of options they were presented when it came to shopping for uniforms and the prices. As a male in the medical field, he was tired of the single rack in the back approach to providing male uniforms that he had to deal with. This left the best option being online stores and sending items back and forth until he got something that fit correctly. That is why Emerald Uniforms carries just as many men’s selections as women’s. They strive to offer as many color options and size ranges for men that are made by the manufacturers and not just throw unisex items on a rack calling it the men’s section.
Emerald ran into several different frustrations with uniform stores. First, if you did not wear a size small to extra-large, they would not have it to try on. Second, their prices were very high and she felt like they were unduly expensive. She also knew her students are on a tighter budget and struggled even more to get what they needed. Lastly, they were set-up like thrift stores with long racks of the same color and white wall like a cave. This made her feel like it was work to shop for uniforms to work in. This is why Emerald Uniforms offers all range of sizes, not just small through XL, they have lower prices to begin with and scrubs that are in a wide range of prices for everyone, and the store is designed to give the shopper the experience of a high-end clothing store and not a thrift store. Emerald Uniforms offer uniforms for every job type, not just scrubs—EMS, Police, Fire, Office, hospitality, culinary, etc.—all adult work needs.